What To Expect Before Stoma Surgery

What To Expect Before Stoma Surgery

This content has been written by Alannah-Jayne Simpson, one of our community writers at Healthcare Delivery Reviews. You can find out more about Alannah’s story by visiting our meet the team page.

If you have been told that you need surgery for a Stoma that is a non emergency situation where the surgery is planned with your surgeon and medical team then the below information is for you.

Pre Stoma Surgery Information

If your surgery is an emergency as it was for me, some of the following information may not apply, e.g. packing essentials for your stay in hospital; ask a friend or family member to bring these in for you when you can.

Prior to your surgery, you will see a stoma nurse, who will give you an information pack that gives you information on different types of stomas and a sample of an ostomy pouch for you to try on. 

Your surgeon will refer you to the pre-operative assessment clinic, this is where you will have some minor tests done such as checking your weight, height, bloods, doing an ECG (this is where they put stickers on your chest and stomach to trace your heart’s rhythm), your breathing and then go through all your medical history with a pre-operative nurse. This is to ensure they don’t miss anything and can avoid any complications whilst you are being put to sleep and under general anesthetic. It is all generally really calm and not stressful at all. 

You may receive laxatives with your surgery admission letter in the post if they are required, this is to clear out the bowel in preparation for surgery, sometimes you are given them at the appointment, it depends on how the team organises this. If you do get laxatives, you will get an information booklet along with them with instructions to follow which you must read fully and take as instructed the day before your surgery.

Alannah-Jayne Simpson in a hospital bed with her dog

The Day Before Your Stoma Surgery

Some people are admitted the night before their surgery for observation and you will be given the laxatives then if needed. You will be fasted the night before your surgery, with fluids only being allowed up to 6 hours prior to the surgery. 

You should pack a bag with essentials to keep you going in the days to follow after surgery such as nighties or very loose pyjamas, underwear, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes, things to keep you occupied such as a reading or colouring book, an iPad/tablet with downloaded content (Hospital Wi-Fi isn’t always great, or free!) or some magazines, earphones, slippers and a phone charging cable.

It may also be handy to pack some little snacks that you like and juice.

On The Day Of Your Stoma Surgery

On the day of your surgery, you will be marked up with a permanent marker of an “x” on each side of your stomach to guide the surgeon on where to place your stoma which is protected with a waterproof bandage, this will make sure it doesn’t rub off!

You may also have to wash in a special shower gel, have stockings to wear and a hospital gown.

Due to infection prevention you mustn’t wear any nail varnish (as lovely as it looks!) so they can get clear readings for the heart monitors that go on your finger.

Any of your jewellery, piercings or dentures should be given to a family member or left at home where someone can keep them safe while you are in surgery.

The surgery can take anything from 7 hours and upwards and afterwards, you will wake up in recovery. 

Alannah-Jayne Simpson showing her ostomy bag

Please note: The information throughout these pages should be used as a guide only. Please consult your GP or medical professional for further information about your condition.

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