Surgery and Hospitalization

Navigating Surgery and Hospitalization on the Road to a Colostomy


Having surgery for a colostomy is an important step in your journey. This article explains the surgery, what happens when you’re in the hospital, and the first care and training for your colostomy.

The Surgical Procedure

The surgical creation of a colostomy involves several key steps and considerations:

  • Preoperative Evaluation: Prior to the surgery, your healthcare team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to ensure you are in the best possible condition for the procedure. This includes assessing your overall health, any specific concerns related to your colostomy and usually the NSWOC (Nurses specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence) or surgeon will assess your abdomen and along with your feedback mark an optimal spot for the stoma.

  • Stoma Creation: During the surgery, the surgeon will create a stoma, which is a surgically constructed opening in the abdominal wall. The specific type of colostomy will dictate the location of the stoma.

  • Temporary or Permanent: The surgeon will determine whether the colostomy is temporary or permanent based on your medical condition. A temporary colostomy is typically used when the colon or rectum needs time to heal, while a permanent colostomy may be required in certain medical cases.

  • Anesthesia and Pain Management: Surgical teams will use anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. After surgery, pain management techniques will be employed to minimize discomfort.

Recovery in the Hospital

Following the surgical procedure, your hospital stay is a crucial phase in your colostomy journey. Here’s what to expect:

  • Postoperative Care: You will be closely monitored by healthcare professionals in the recovery room, where they will ensure you wake up from anesthesia safely.

  • Pain Management: Pain management is a priority. The medical team will assess and manage your pain levels to keep you comfortable.

  • Stoma Assessment: The NSWOC (Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence) will assess the stoma, ensuring it has a healthy appearance and is functioning properly. Any questions or concerns you have about the stoma will be addressed.

  • Diet and Nutrition: Initially, you may be on a clear liquid diet and gradually transition to solid foods as your digestive system heals.

  • Patient Education: Hospitalization is an ideal time to receive initial ostomy care and training. You will learn how to change your pouch, clean the stoma, and manage ostomy-related issues. Take this opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns.

Initial Ostomy Care and Training

As a fundamental part of your hospital stay, you will receive training and education on how to care for your colostomy. Key points include:

  • Pouching Techniques: Learn how to change and empty your pouch, ensuring a secure and hygienic fit. This knowledge is vital for your day-to-day life post-surgery. Your spouse, partner or support person is welcome and encouraged to attend your teaching sessions .

  • Skin Care and Maintenance: Proper skin care around the stoma is essential to prevent skin irritation or complications. You’ll receive guidance on cleaning and protecting the peristomal skin.

  • Troubleshooting: Gain insights into common challenges, such as leaks or odor control, and how to address them effectively.

  • Emotional Support: The hospital staff and NSWOC (Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence) are there to provide emotional support and resources to help you cope with the emotional aspects of the colostomy. At this time you may be introduced to the Ostomy Canada Society (a non profit volunteer organization dedicated to all people living with an ostomy, and their circles of support). You may also want to consider having a volunteer visitor from Ostomy Canada Society.


In conclusion, the surgical procedure, hospitalization, and initial ostomy care and training are integral components of your journey to living well with a colostomy. With the support of your healthcare team and the knowledge gained during this period, you’ll be better equipped to embrace your new life with confidence and self-assurance.

Ostomy Canada Society Inc. is not an organization of medical professionals. The information provided on our website is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

It is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including your physician or a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (NSWOC), before making any decisions about your health. Every individual’s medical condition is unique, and what may be suitable for one person may not be appropriate for another.

Ostomy Canada Society Inc. does not endorse or recommend specific medical treatments, procedures, products, or opinions mentioned on the website. Reliance on any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

If you have questions or concerns about your health, always seek the advice of a healthcare professional for personalized guidance. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on information obtained from our website.

Ostomy Canada Society Inc. strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information, but we cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the content. Changes in medical knowledge and practices may occur after the publication of information on our website.

By using our website, you acknowledge and agree to these terms and conditions. If you do not agree with this disclaimer, please refrain from using our website for medical decision-making purposes.