Preparing for Surgery

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
06/09/16  2:44 PM PST

Before your surgery you will want to meet with a WOC (Wound, Ostomy, Continence) Nurse. He or she will generally be the one to decide the best placement for your stoma considering your unique anatomy.  He or she may ask you to stand, sit, and bend in order to place the stoma somewhere convenient for you.

Make sure you also mention any sports you play, as well as the physical aspects your occupation entails (if relevant) and any preferences you have for stoma placement. Your WOC Nurse may not be able to meet all your requests, but if he or she can, it’s good information to share.

The stoma should be placed on a smooth area of the Rectus Abdominis, preferably away from any folds and the navel. You should be able to see the stoma easily in order to care for it yourself. The nurse will mark the ideal spot and put a dressing over it in order to preserve the marking.

Ileostomies are generally placed on the lower right quadrant of the abdomen and colostomies, depending on what part of the colon is used to form the stoma, are placed either in the lower or upper right quadrant of the abdomen.

At my pre-op appointment with the WOC Nurse, she suggested I do some research online and go to an ostomy support group prior to surgery to get my lifestyle questions answered. At the support group, a member suggested I put an ostomy pouch on my abdomen prior to surgery and fill it with water or applesauce to practice emptying and to help me get used to the idea of having an ostomy. Doing this helped me feel prepared to handle emptying the pouch when I needed to.

For more information about living with an ostomy, visit our resources page.

Some topics you may be interested in learning about are:

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