Before stoma surgery
If stoma surgery is planned, hopefully by the time you are in hospital you will have had the opportunity to meet a Stoma Care Nurse and have a good idea of what to expect of the operation and beyond. However, members of the medical team will be there to answer any further questions you may have and the Stoma Care Nurses will normally be closely involved in your care. You may have already been sited for the stoma but if not, the Stoma Care Nurse will work with you to find a good position for the stoma on your abdomen, which works for your body shape and the clothes you wear. The surgeon will then do their best to site the stoma here, although it may not always be possible.
After stoma surgery
Your stoma will normally begin to be active within a few days. The stoma will be swollen at first and the stoma bags used initially are large, often transparent and slightly cumbersome. The swelling will soon begin to go down and the stoma will become smaller and neater. The stoma may continue to become even smaller after you are allowed home and you will need to check that your stoma pouches are still a good fit.
The Stoma Care Nurse will teach you how to change your stoma bag, how to measure your stoma and how to care for your stoma generally. The nurse will also fit you with a more discreet type of stoma bag and will discuss the different types available.