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A colostomy creates an opening on the abdomen (stoma) for the drainage of stool (feces) from the large intestine (colon). Colostomies are usually performed after the diseased colon has been removed.
Colostomies may be temporary or permanent. While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), an incision is made in the abdomen. The diseased colon is removed.
Review Date 3/12/2019
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.