Ileostomy Vs Colostomy
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There are many things that can be said about why an ileostomy is better than a colostomy or how the success rate for colostomy is so much higher than for ileostomy, but the one thing than everyone agrees on is the following: both the ileostomy and the colostomy are used for one thing and one thing only. The two very complicated and delicate procedures help remodel the digestive tract for patients who have lost the functionality of the colon or the rectum due to cancer, ulcerative colitis or Chron's disease. Sure, that is the physical aspect of the two procedures. But what do they do, physiologically? Well, they help remove the wastes formed by the body after the digestive process is finished, but the colon and the rectum cannot be reached.
Ileostomy vs. colostomy: the procedures
While some of the technical things differ from procedure to procedure and from patient to patient, the major steps of the two surgeries are pretty much identical. In both cases, the surgeon cuts open the abdomen, looks for the damaged part of the intestine or the rectum, eliminates it and then begins the ileostomy or the colostomy. He or she cuts a hole in the inner abdominal wall of the patient, leveling it with the remaining length of intestine. That hole is called a stoma, from the Greek word meaning "mouth". The part of the intestine that is left after the elimination of the disease is then attached to the stoma and covered with an ileostomy or colostomy bag.
Ileostomy vs. colostomy: the permanence of the modification
Both the ileostomy and the colostomy can be permanent or temporary. In the case of cancer patients with nothing left of their colon or rectum after the initial phase of the surgery, the ileostomy or the colostomy is permanent.
However, if the patient suffers from Chron's disease or has undergone some trauma to the digestive tract (poisoning, stabbing or shooting), the surgeon could recommend an ileostomy or a colostomy to give the larger intestine some time to rest. After that time has passed, the ileostomy or the colostomy can be reversed, under certain conditions. There are patients that refuse the reversal surgery for several reasons, including avoiding the pain of another operation, the complications that could arise and the cost. Some countries in the world do not consider the ileostomy or colostomy reversal surgery important enough for the health of the patient to pay for it. In this case, the sufferer must support all the costs. Be warned, the procedure does not come in cheap.
Ileostomy vs. colostomy: post - surgery expectations
After each of the two medical procedures, you can expect to remain hospitalized for about two to three weeks. The physician recommends this so that he or she can keep you under observation, check for any lingering complications or for any signs that the ileostomy or colostomy has failed. Also, during this time, you will be taught everything you need to know about how to take care of your ileostomy or colostomy bag. After your physician has decided to allow you to leave the hospital, you will not be released into your own care. The reasoning behind this decision is pretty good: you are too weak physically to take care of yourself. For about two months after the surgery, you will require help to get around.
Ileostomy vs. colostomy: the aftercare
The ileostomy or the colostomy bag must be taken care of in the same way: carefully, often and only when the bag is full. Of course, the best moment to clean the pouch is before the digestive process begins or after it has finished completely: in the mornings, before breakfast, or about four hours after you have eaten. The pouch must not be cleaned more than once a day and should not be changed more than once a week. If you notice anything wrong with the pouch system (bleeding from the pouch, irritation of the surrounding skin and intense pain), you need to contact a physician as soon as possible.