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Ostomies: Types and Pouching Systems

  • Published: 2015-10-06 (Revised/Updated 2017-07-17) : Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Information regarding the most common specific types of ostomies and one or two-piece pouching systems.

The terms, 'ostomy,' and, 'stoma,' are general descriptive terms that are often times used interchangeably, although they have different meanings. An, 'ostomy,' refers to the surgically created opening in a person's body for the discharge of body wastes. A, 'stoma,' is the actual end of the ureter or small or large bowel that may be seen protruding through the person's abdominal wall. The most common specific types of ostomies are presented below.

An ostomy pouching system or colostomy bag is defined as a prosthetic medical device that provides a means for the collection of waste from a surgically diverted biological system (colon, ileum, bladder) and the creation of a stoma. Pouching systems are most commonly associated with colostomies, ileostomies, and urostomies.

Pouching System Types

Pouching systems can include a one-piece or two-piece system. Both kinds include a skin barrier/wafer or, 'faceplate,' as well as a collection pouch. The pouch attaches to the person's abdomen by the skin barrier and is fitted over and around the stoma to collect the diverted output, either urine or stool. The barrier/wafer is designed to protect the person's skin from the stoma output and to be as neutral to the person's skin as possible. What follows are descriptions of pouch systems.

The above are the major types of pouching systems; there are also a number of styles. For example; there are flat wafers and convex shaped ones. There are very flexible ones and fairly rigid ones. There are barriers with and without adhesive backing and with and without a perimeter of tape. Some manufacturers have introduced drainable pouches with a built-in tail closure that does not require a separate clip. The decision as to what type of system to choose is a personal one aimed at each person's needs. There is no right or wrong choice, although each person must find the system that performs best for them.

Larger mail-order catalogs illustrate the styles and types from all or the majority of suppliers. If a person has any trouble with their current pouching system, it is important for them to discuss the issue with an ostomy nurse or other health care provider to find a system that works better. It is not uncommon to try several types until the best solution for the person is found. There is no reason to remain with a poorly performing or uncomfortable pouching system.

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