Instead of connecting the remaining parts of the bowels, the surgeon makes 2 small openings (stoma) in your child’s belly wall. This procedure is called an ostomy (pronounced OST-uh-mee). The surgeon:
- Sews the upper end of the bowels to 1 opening in the belly wall. This lets bowel movements come out into a plastic pouch on the outside of your child’s body.
- Sews the lower end of the bowels to the other opening. This opening lets out normal mucus made in the bowels.
If your child needs this procedure, we will teach you how to care for the openings.
In most cases, an ostomy is temporary. Later, the surgeon does another procedure to attach the ends of the bowels to each other and to close the openings in your baby’s belly. Usually this is about 6 to 8 weeks later, when the bowels are healthier.
If surgeons had to remove a large segment of your child’s bowels, the ostomy might be permanent. This is not common.
If your child had a large segment of their bowels removed, the rest may not absorb nutrients from food properly. This is called short bowel syndrome. It can cause serious problems with growth and development. Our team will keep as much of your child’s bowels as possible to try to prevent this.