What to Expect at Your Pre-Surgery Visit
Like most people who are preparing for ostomy surgery, you may be wondering what to expect.
It's normal to wonder how your life will change in the immediate weeks following surgery and beyond. We’re here to help.
Your professional healthcare team is your best resource for answering all your questions and getting you back to the life you love. Below, discover their roles in your recovery, as well as some questions to consider asking when you meet with them.
Your surgeon leads the team
When you see your surgeon before your operation, they will discuss which type of stoma is best for you. This will depend on the type of surgery you need. They will also discuss whether the stoma is going to be temporary or permanent. At that visit, your surgeon may also give you the name of an ostomy care nurse.
Your ostomy nurse is your best resource
A specialised ostomy nurse - sometimes called a (STN) stomal therapy nurse, or stoma care nurse - is a partner, guide and teacher in your ostomy journey. As you adjust to life with an ostomy, your nurse will be your go-to person.
If you are able to meet with a nurse before your surgery, they will help you prepare for surgery and adjust to life with a stoma. At this pre-surgery visit, your nurse will find out as much as possible about your individual lifestyle and needs. From this discussion, your nurse and surgeon will recommend the best position for your stoma. Then at the time of your surgery, the nurse will mark this position on your abdomen (belly) so that the surgeon can see where to form the stoma.
If you would like to meet with someone who has had an ostomy, your nurse may be able to make arrangements.
If a specialised ostomy nurse is not available before your surgery, you can contact your local ostomy support group. They can put you in touch with someone either in your community or an alternate healthcare professional who can provide you with the guidance you need.
The first step in preventive care starts with the selection of the best place for your stoma. A poorly placed stoma can cause the pouching system to fail, in addition to causing skin and leakage problems.
If time permits, it is important to discuss the placement of your stoma with your surgeon. Depending on your medical condition or injury, this may happen either at your surgeon’s office or at the hospital. Here are some important guidelines that should be followed:
- The stoma site should be viewable and easily reached so that you can manage pouching changes on your own.
- Ideally, the stoma should not be placed near or around skin folds, scars or bony prominences, so that the pouching system can adhere flat to the skin.
- Placement should be evaluated in sitting, standing and bending positions.1
Other questions you may want to ask
Facing surgery can be difficult and stressful, and you might not remember all the questions you have during your pre-surgery appointments. Writing down a list of questions and bringing that list with you to these appointments can help you feel assured that all of your concerns are being addressed.
If possible, it’s also smart to bring a trusted friend or family member with you to your appointments, to take notes and offer support.
Here are some common questions for people facing ostomy surgery:
- What should I expect?
- Will my stoma be permanent or temporary?
- How does the stoma work?
- Will my stoma be visible under my clothes?
- What does a pouch look like (size, types, coloors, style)?
- How do I change the pouch?
- Will the pouch leak?
- Where do I get supplies?
- How much do they cost?
- Will I have to change my diet?
- When can I go back to work?
- Will I be able to go out with family and friends?
- How will my ostomy affect my sex life?
- Will I be able to travel?
- Where can I get extra help and support?
- Will I need any special care when I get home from the hospital?
More in Before Surgery
Here you can learn about ostomy surgery and prepare you with helpful questions to ask your doctor or nurse.Read more
Preparing for Ostomy Surgery
Ostomy surgery can be scary, but you’re in good company. We can help you get ready—physically and mentally.Learn more
Colostomy, Urostomy or Ileostomy, we've got all the information you need.Read more
How is a stoma surgically created
All stomas are not created equal. They vary in size, shape, location and construction.Read more
At Your Pre-Surgery Visit
Like most people who are preparing for ostomy surgery, you may be wondering what to expect.Read more
In the hospital
Stoma placement may also be discussed in your pre-surgery visit. If your surgeon does not discuss stoma placement with you, we encourage you to ask about it before surgery.Read more
Getting Back Into Life
Immediate Weeks Following Surgery
When you are in the hospital, you will be taught how to care for your stoma.Read more
Featured in Ostomy
Our bonds determine who we are.Read more
Skin care products providing silicone-based skin protection and adhesive remover.Read more