A colostomy is a surgical procedure that is done when part of
the large intestine (colon or rectum) has been removed and the remaining bowel cannot
function normally. The colostomy may be temporary, until the colon or rectum
heals, or it may be permanent if the entire lower colon or rectum was
In colostomy surgery, the surgeon makes a cut through the
skin on the person's abdomen. He or she then sews the end of the upper part of the
intestine (where the stool continues to be made) to the opening in the skin.
This opening is called a colostomy. The diseased part of the intestine is
usually removed during the surgery. (Sometimes, it may be left in place and
allowed to heal, depending on the type of disease or injury the person
Stool continues to be made in the upper part of the
intestine and passes out of the body through the colostomy. A disposable bag is
placed on the skin over the colostomy opening to collect stool. A pouch may
also be created inside the person's body, where stool collects and is then
removed with a procedure like an enema.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.