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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Ileostomy Care
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System

Ileostomy Care

Alternate Names : Ileostomy

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

An ileostomy is an artificial opening that is created in the bowel for stool to pass through. The ileum is the lower part of the small bowel, which connects to the large bowel. Treatment for some bowel diseases requires removal of part or all of the bowel. If this is done, a new way for stool to leave the body must be created.

In most cases, the artificial opening in the ileum is connected to the abdominal wall. The stool can then drain through an opening in the skin. The opening of the skin in the abdominal wall is called a stoma. An ileostomy may be temporary or permanent.

A team of people, including a surgeon, nurse, social worker, and dietitian, may provide ileostomy education and initial care. An enterostomal therapist, who is usually a registered nurse with specialized training, might also assist with care. Care might extend well past the initial hospital stay.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Examples of conditions that may require an ileostomy include:

  • bowel infections
  • bowel injuries
  • bowel obstructions
  • cancer
  • conditions that cause severe bowel inflammation, such as Crohn's disease
  • How is the procedure performed?

    Ileostomy education begins before surgery. The healthcare providers may use diagrams, photographs, and examples of equipment to explain what the person can expect after surgery. Concerns related to changes in body image and sexuality can be explored.

    The abdomen is marked for placement of the stoma before surgery. When possible, the stoma is placed in the most convenient place for the person. Usually, the stoma is placed in the right lower part of the abdomen.

    An ileostomy is usually done using general anesthesia. The surgeon removes or interrupts the diseased bowel. In a traditional procedure, a part of the ileum is then brought out through the skin. The bowel opening is attached to the skin of the abdomen with sutures. A plastic bag with an adhesive facing is placed over the stoma and firmly pressed onto the skin. Someone with a traditional ileostomy has continuous drainage of bowel contents into the bag.

    Alternatively, the surgeon may perform a continent ileostomy. A special pouch is created and attaches to the abdominal wall. There is no external bag with this type of ileostomy. The bowel contents do not drain constantly. The person inserts a narrow tube into the pouch several times a day to drain the bowel contents.


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    Ileostomy Care: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/31/01

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