Fecal diversion by means of a stoma has revolutionized the treatment of several abdominal conditions. Since its inception years ago, the use of fecal diversion has allowed clinicians the ability to treat conditions like gastrointestinal cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and others.
Stomas are classified accordingly to their anatomical location and segment of intestine used as ileostomies or colostomies and surgical design as loop or end. The clinical scenario determines the type of stoma to construct. More proximal stomas tend to produce more abundant liquid or loose stool with higher electrolyte losses than distal ones, factors that influence clinical management. Fecal diversion carries a significant lifestyle adjustment for patients, factors requiring recognition when educating patients in the care of the stoma and appropriate pouching to minimize pitfalls.
Knowledge on recognition of common complications related to fecal diversion and their management will improve quality of life. The most frequent is peristomal skin breakdown; others include: parastomal hernia, stomal stenosis, retraction, bleeding, and prolapse.
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