From North Central Oklahoma Ostomy Outlook October 2007:

Hernia and the Ostomate

by Eugene Broccolo; via Orange County (NY) Ostomy Support Group

Hernias can develop postoperatively through any surgical incision. Incisions that are not closed tightly are more prone to hernias. Colostomies represent surgical incisions that cannot be closed tightly because to do so could result in a stricture or narrowing of the bowel opening.

Hernias of colostomies, or pericolostomy hernias, can occur frequently. They can be apparent in the immediate postoperative period, or more often, develop years after the original surgery. They can be recognized as a bulge forming around the colostomy, most noticeably when the patient is standing. Good bowel function is dependent on good abdominal musculature and is especially dependent on the muscles around the colostomy site. Therefore, a colostomy hernia would give symptoms of poor colostomy functions, e.g., incomplete evacuation, difficulty in irrigation and discomfort during elimination.

Most hernias will cause fewer symptoms with some external support, e.g., an abdominal binder, but the colostomy itself and whatever appliance is used will interfere with good compression. Therefore, surgical repair has to be considered for the hernia.

Since the very same problems exist at the time of repair as were present at the original surgery, e.g., inability to obtain a tight closure, the recurrence rate for this type of hernia is much higher than with other hernias.

Because of the possibility that even in the best of circumstances a colostomy hernia can recur, the decision to proceed with surgery should be made only after consideration of all the factors, such as general health and nutrition, the degree of disability and the level of physical activity required.


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This page last revised 2007-10-04

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