Information for Patients
A stoma usually refers to a surgically created opening on the skin leading into part of the intestine or a hollow organ. There are many types of stomas and the commoner ones include an ileostomy (opening created in the small intestine) and a colostomy (opening created in the large intestine). Here, the faeces coming from the stoma is collected in an odourless sealed bag. In most surgeries, a stoma is unnecessary.
In some special situations, however, a stoma is necessary for temporary diversion of faeces to allow sufficient time for the internal wounds to heal. Once healed, the stoma is usually closed with a smaller operation. In the uncommon situation where the cancer has invaded the anus, the anus needs to be surgically removed to clear all the cancer, and this would leave the patient with a permanent stoma. Patients who need a stoma will be taught how to care for it. It is usually very simple, and once competent, the patient would be able to conceal the stoma under the clothes and proceed about his or her usual daily activities without any problems.
For more information, please consult Dr Kevin Sng.