Sometimes, a malformation in the digestive tract makes it impossible for feces to exit the body in a way that is healthy for the child. If your child has a condition or malformation that has made the large intestine unable to function properly, your doctor may recommend an ileostomy.

An ileostomy is a procedure that connects a part of the small intestine to a surgical hole (stoma) in the abdomen and perts feces to a special pouch outside the body. The procedure can provide a temporary way for stool to exit the body until your child is able to undergo reconstructive surgery, or it can be used to allow the intestines or rectum to heal from reconstructive surgery.  Once the ileostomy is no longer needed, the surgeon will reconnect the small and large intestine, and close the stoma.

Surgery Basics

Your child will be sedated for the surgery, and will need to stay in the hospital for a few days to recover from the procedure. While in the hospital, your child will receive IV fluids and antibiotics to help prevent infection, and pain medication, if needed. A nurse will teach you how to care for your child’s ileostomy before you leave the hospital, and advise you on any dietary changes you may need to make.

Ileostomy Care Basics

Stomas come in different shapes and sizes, and it is normal for the stoma to be deep red or pink. Stool that is coming through the stoma contains digestive enzymes, which can irritate the skin. It is very important to protect the skin around your child’s stoma with special products that act like barriers.  

For more information regarding stoma care please visit the United Ostomy Association of America website.