Question: Experiencing Gallstones Passing Through Ostomy Post-Surgery

I’ve had a full ostomy for the past five years. Following gallbladder surgery three years ago, which led to complications, I’ve experienced passing stones through my stoma, causing cuts. I was informed that stones should not pass through the ostomy. Is it true that gallstones cannot pass this way, or is it possible?

Response: Understanding the Possibility of Gallstones in Ostomy

It is indeed possible for gallstones to pass through your ostomy, especially considering the anatomical connections in your digestive system. The gallbladder is typically connected to the small bowel, which can allow stones to pass through in certain cases.

  1. Surgical Review: It’s important to understand exactly what portion of your gallbladder remains post-surgery and its connection to the small bowel. Consult with your surgeon to get a clear picture of your current anatomical structure post-gallbladder surgery.
  2. Consider Additional Surgery: If feasible, discuss with your surgeon the possibility of removing the remaining gallbladder tissue to prevent further complications.
  3. Medical Management: Inquire about any medical interventions or lifestyle changes that might help reduce or prevent the formation of gallstones.
  4. Seeking a Second Opinion: If you have concerns or doubts about the information provided or the suggested course of action, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion. It’s crucial to feel confident and informed about your health decisions.

Remember, each patient’s case is unique, and what applies to one may not necessarily apply to another. A thorough evaluation and consultation with medical professionals will provide the best course of action tailored to your specific condition.

Karen Bruton, RN BScN MCISc-WH WOCC(C)
Nurse Education Consultant – Interprofessional Practice Support
Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Canada
Ostomy Canada (Volunteer)
Medical and Lifestyle Advisory Team Lead


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