What happens right after the procedure?
The person is taken to the surgery recovery room. The ventilator is turned off as soon as people can breathe on their own. Usually, at least a few days in the hospital are needed to recover.
After the procedure, the bowel is allowed to rest. Food is not given until the bowel becomes active again. Bowels that are working pass gas and stool even when the person is not eating any food. Fluid and nutrition can be given through an IV until the bowel is working. Once people are able to eat, they can usually go home.
Before leaving the hospital, people learn about colostomy care. The instruction is often done by an enterostomal therapist, or ET. The ET is usually a registered nurse who has had specialized training and is certified. The ET can provide support before surgery, and help detect problems after surgery. The ET helps with the fitting of the initial colostomy bags, and explains how to apply and take care of these appliances.
Most importantly, the ET can give advice on day-to-day living with an ostomy. Support services such as the United Ostomy Association can also offer information. People are often concerned about changes in body image and sexuality. They can talk with ETs and other healthcare professionals about these concerns.