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A colostomy is surgery to make an opening in the skin on the belly and connect your child's bowel (colon) to that opening. The opening is called a stoma. The stoma may be needed for weeks to months. Or it may be needed throughout your child's life.
After surgery, stool will no longer leave your child's body through the anus. It will go through the stoma and into a plastic bag. The bag is attached to the stoma.
The surgery can be done in two ways. In laparoscopic surgery, the doctor makes several small cuts (incisions) in the belly. Then the doctor puts a thin, lighted tube and special surgical tools through the incisions. The tube is called a scope. It lets the doctor see your child's organs and do the surgery. In open surgery, the doctor makes one larger cut in the belly. In either surgery, the incisions leave scars. These will fade with time.
You and your child may worry about life after this surgery. But many people with colostomies lead active, normal lives. It may help to know that the bags don't smell bad. They also don't show under clothes. Other people won't know that your child has a colostomy unless you or your child chooses to tell them.
In the hospital, an ostomy nurse will help you and your child learn to care for the stoma. Your child will probably go home in about a week. But it could take several weeks to fully recover. Your doctor will tell you when your child can go back to normal activities.
Surgery can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.
Adaptation Date: 6/12/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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