Difference Between Ileostomy and Colostomy

Ileostomy and Colostomy

When we chew and swallow food it enters the stomach via the esophagus. From the stomach food goes into the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon, rectum and anal canal. Diseases of the distal part of the intestinal tract call for a stoma and the degree of damage is very important. If only the distal part of the large intestine is damaged, a colostomy will be preferable. If the whole large intestine or the proximal part of the large intestine is damaged, an ileostomy will be the better choice.

Colostomy and ileostomy are both bowel division surgeries that allow stools to leave the body bypassing a damaged area of the large intestine. This is done to provide time for the damaged bowel to heal or after removal of a part of the bowel due to a sinister condition like cancer. During stoma surgery the surgeon clearly identifies the damaged part of the bowel. The disease condition influences the choice between a temporary and a permanent stoma. If the distal bowel needs time to heal, surgeon makes a temporary stoma which he reverses later. A permanent stoma is the choice if the distal bowel is irreparable and has to be removed. Surgeon cuts the bowel into two at the stoma site and sutures the distal end shut. Then he forms a stoma by rolling the cut end of the bowel on itself like a cuff and sticking it onto the anterior abdominal wall. 

What is Ileostomy?

Ileum is the distal part of the small intestine. If this is separated from the caecum and brought out, it is called an ileostomy. Ileum is brought out through an incision on the right lower part of the abdomen. It protrudes out of the abdomen a bit. Ileostomy expels the liquid, half formed stools. It has a high flow rate.

Complications of ileostomy include bleeding, dehydration, obstruction of stoma, and excoriation of the surrounding skin. Patient gets dehydrated quickly, so he needs to drink plenty of fluids. Small bowels contain a lot of digestive enzymes. These enzymes come out with half formed stools and excoriate the edge of the ileostomy. Therefore, good hygiene, regularly emptying the ileostomy bag and applying protective balm around the stoma edge prevent any irritation and inflammation of the stoma edge.

What is Colostomy?

Colostomy is a part of the large intestine brought out through an incision on the left lower part of the abdomen. It lies flush with the anterior abdominal wall. It expels formed stools. It has a low flow rate.

Complications of colostomy include offensive odor, inflammation, infection of the stoma site and obstruction of the stoma. Colostomy also needs regular clean up and replacement of the bag. Antibiotics treat any infections. Obstruction of the stoma may need repeat surgery.

What is the difference between Colostomy and Ileostomy?

• Ileostomy is made out of the small intestine while colostomy is made out of the large intestine.

• Ileostomy is normally found on the right side while colostomy is on the left side.

• Ileostomy expels liquid stools while colostomy expels formed stools.

• Ileostomy has a high flow rate while colostomy has a low flow rate.

• Ileostomy protrudes out a bit while colostomy lies flush with the skin.

• Ileostomy can dehydrate the patients while colostomy usually doesn’t.

• Infection rate of colostomy is higher than that of ileostomy.


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