Ileostomy

An ileostomy is an opening onto the abdominal wall where the small bowel is brought through. The word ileostomy is made from two words, Ileum, from the Greek word “elios” meaning twisted, and the Greek word “stoma” meaning mouth.

An ileostomy may have one or two ends of bowel brought out at the stoma site. If the ileostomy is just one end it is called an end ileostomy. If there are two ends, it may be called a loop or an end-loop (also known in Australia as an Abcarian) ileostomy, depending on how they are constructed.

An ileostomy may be permanent or temporary. It is permanent if all the bowel downstream of the ileostomy has been cut out (resected), or is diseased and the stoma or bag should not be closed, or if the person is too unwell to have their bag ever closed. It is temporary if the bowel downstream and anus are still intact and able to function, and the person is well enough to have their bag closed.

The most common ileostomy is a loop ileostomy which is commonly made to divert stool or faeces away from the downstream bowel, usually after a rectal resection, while we wait for wound healing of the downstream bowel.

The stomal therapists are nurses who specialise in the care, education and training of patients with stomas, and they will commonly site your ileostomy preoperatively where your ileostomy will best suit you and your body, and your needs and abilities.
It is best to discuss any more detail with your doctor and stomal therapist.

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