Irregularly Shaped Loop Ileostomy: Tracing Plastic and Other Methods?

May 22, 2024 2:22 pm

I'm jumping the gun here slightly as I'm not scheduled for surgery until next Thursday, May 30th, 2024, but I am scheduled for a Loop Ileostomy and I see that sometimes that leaves a stoma that is more in the shape of a figure 8. Online, I see videos that show tracing the shape with clear plastic, so that brings me to my question. Does one need to buy the clear tracing plastic separately or does it come with the purchase? Also, is there another method for dealing with irregularly shaped stomas?


Thanks in advance, everyone.


Joe in NY

May 22, 2024 3:04 pm

Hey Joe, what type of hospital are you having your surgery at? Big? Small? Research/university/teaching? Hopefully, you will learn a lot in the hospital from a WOC (wound ostomy continence) nurse. And you'll have a lot of us to help you. With a loop ileostomy, there is a rod placed for the first couple of days then removed. In my case, it created kind of a divot in the skin which caused a lot of leakage issues. Don't go buying anything yet. Hollister has a free template that has oval shapes. You are going to learn a lot of tricks after and figure out what works for you. I can show you a picture of what mine looked like if you want, unfortunately, my loop ileostomy pictures are kind of gnarly looking—only took pictures of when something looked bad I guess. 🤷‍♀️

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May 22, 2024 4:44 pm
Reply to CrappyColon

Thanks so much for the speedy reply. I still can't get over how active this forum community is compared to the others I found.

My surgery will be done at the Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut. I believe it is considered large and is also a "teaching" facility. My cancer treatment is actually through the Whittingham Cancer Center. The short version of my story is that I was declared a Stage IV rectal cancer patient in October of '23 because they found two left side common iliac lymph nodes had metastasized in addition to the tumor in my rectum, but happily after 5 weeks of radiation and 3 months of chemo my tumor is gone and my lymph nodes are normal. Only now I'm scheduled for a low anterior resection and a lymphadenectomy which will leave me with a temporary loop ileostomy so I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible ahead of time about the "ins and outs" of life with a stoma. So far the staff at Whittingham has been amazing and highly responsive and helpful so I'm expecting much the same from my WOC nurse. For sure the nurses involved in the pre-op procedure have been VERY attentive in a good way :)

Anyways, thanks again for the reply. Question though. Is your stoma figure 8 shaped or did it settle down into a nice oval or circle?

May 22, 2024 8:48 pm

Hi Joe, I also have a loop ileostomy, and wouldn't describe it as a figure eight, more of an irregular oval really. The template is useful in the beginning as your stoma changes size during the healing process. Once things are settled, you will learn to cut the hole to your specific measurement. It just takes a little time and practice. You'll get there.


May 23, 2024 1:58 am

Hello Joe

As others have said, don't overthink it just yet. There are a few tips for cutting the hole, but you may not even have to if you buy pre-cut and your stoma is more or less round. Once you do settle on a size and shape, if you need to cut your own, just keep the peel-off backing from one you are happy with and use it for a template going forward.

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May 24, 2024 3:38 am

Agree, don't overthink. You don't know what shape or size your stoma will be; everyone's is different. I had a loop for 8 months before I went to an end ileo, and mine wasn't a figure eight either. But just remember, every person's stoma and body is different. A stoma nurse should be going over it with you and helping and teaching you to change your bag when you're in the hospital or before going home. A good tip is for you to do it and have them sit with you and watch you instead of them just doing all of it for you, so you start getting the hang of it before you leave the hospital. And also, don't leave gaps when cutting your wafer.