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Difference between Ostomy and Colostomy

Ostomies and colostomies are often confused. And since they are complex surgical procedures aimed at very different things, it is important that everyone knows the difference between these two.

Here are some of the main differences:


An ostomy is an opening created artificially on the abdominal walls. Through this hole, waste material from the urinary tract or bowel is channeled out. By the way, see here for the best quality stoma protectors by Stealth Belt.

A colostomy is an opening on the colon. Note that there are various types of colostomies. In a colostomy, an ostomy bag or an appliance is used to collect the waste. The choice depends on which better fits the patient.



  • Colostomy
  • Ostomy
  • Ileostomy
  • J-Pouch


  • Descending colostomy
  • Transverse Colostomy
  • Sigmoid colostomy
  • Ascending colostomy

Reasons they are performed:

There are several illnesses or conditions that might cause the need for an Ostomy. This could be either as a treatment or recovery. Some of these are:

Cancer of the rectum, birth malformations, Crohn’s disease, cancer of the colon, etc

A colostomy is performed for a number of reasons. Some of these are:

Abdominal infection, injury or damage to the rectum or colon, blockage of a patient's large bowel, rectal cancer, fistulas, or wounds in the perineum. Colon cancer can also require a colostomy.

Is the procedure permanent?

This entirely depends on the procedure

Just like a colostomy, it depends on the procedure as well as its reason for the procedure.

How is the procedure performed?

Here is a brief rundown of how an ostomy is performed:

  • The patient is placed under general anesthesia so that they are asleep and feel no pain
  • A surgical cut is made. However, how this cut is made as well as how the rest of the surgery goes fully depends on the type of ostomy you’re getting.

Here is a brief rundown of how a colostomy is performed:

  • The patient is placed under general anesthesia.
  • The surgeon makes a surgical opening. This can be several little cuts or a large cut in the abdomen or a large one. If the latter option is chosen, a small camera will be used.
  • One end of the patient’s healthy colon is gently brought out. This is done through a hole in the abdomen that the surgeon makes. The hole is often made at the left side of the abdominal wall.
  • The surgeon will stitch the edges of the bowel to a skin opening. We call the opening a stoma.
  • Next a bag or an appliance will be used to drain out the stool.

Final Thoughts?

In general summary, a colostomy is a type of ostomy. They can be either permanent or temporary based on the reason the procedure was done.

After such a surgery, it is important that you follow your doctor’s orders as regards aftercare. The area around your surgery will be tender and you will need time to recover.

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