A colostomy is created out of the end of the large intestine to divert waste from your digestive system. After you have this surgery, you will pass waste through a stoma that is located on your abdomen.
The location of your colostomy is determined by the location of the damaged portion of your colon or to divert stool from a wound in the perianal area. The pictures below demonstrate the different areas in which a colostomy can be placed. Depending on placement and reason for the ostomy, these can be permanent or temporary.1,2
- In the ascending (vertical section, on your right) colon
- Uncommon type of colostomy
- Stool is liquid to semi-liquid and very irritating to the skin2,3
- In the transverse (horizontal section, across the abdomen) colon
- Stool is liquid to semi-formed
- Usually constructed as a loop
- Usually temporary1,2,3
- In the descending (vertical section, on your left) colon
- A more common type of colostomy
- Stool is semi-formed to formed due to more water being absorbed while in the ascending and transverse colons1,2,3
- In the lower left portion of the large intestine on your left, just before the rectum
- Stool is formed. All water has been absorbed in the previous areas of the intestines1,2,3
1 McGarity WC. Gastrointestinal surgical procedures. In: Hampton BG, Bryant RA, eds. Ostomies and Continent Diversions: Nursing Management. St Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book; 1992:349-371.
2 What is an ostomy? page. United Ostomy Guide. United States: United Ostomy Association; 2004.
3 Clark J, Grover P, reviewers. Colostomy Guide. United States: United Ostomy Association; 2004.