How should I prepare for surgery?

Having any type of surgery can be overwhelming and frightening. After ostomy surgery, not only will you have an incision where the surgery was performed, but you will wake up with an ostomy pouch on your abdomen. Information will decrease your anxiety.

Many people find it helpful to learn about their surgery and life with an ostomy before their surgery. Knowing what an ostomy or stoma is, what to expect after surgery and who will support you to learn how to care for your stoma and live life fully is important. We are here to help you along the way. Know that you are not alone.

Before surgery we can meet with you to give you and your family member or support person information about the surgery and care after.  The nurses in the hospital will care for you and you will meet a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy & Continence (NSWOC) or Wound, Otomy, Continence (WOC) nurse who specializes in ostomy care.

Sometime people want to meet a person who has an ostomy. Your NSWOC/WOC nurse can arrange that for you, or you can contact Ostomy Canada.     1-888-969-9698

Questions you may want to ask

Facing surgery can be difficult and stressful, and you might not remember all the questions you have. You may want to prepare a list of questions to ask your healthcare professional.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Where will my stoma be: height, position, size? (Be sure to check our resources on stoma site marking.)
  • Will my stoma be permanent or temporary?
  • What will my stoma look like (size, color)?
  • How does the stoma work – how often should it discharge and what is the output?
  • Will my stoma be visible under my clothes?
  • What does a pouch look like (size, types, colors, style)?
  • How do I change the pouch?
  • Will the pouch leak?
  • Where do I get supplies?
  • How much do they cost?
  • Where can I get help and support?
  • Will I need any special care when I get home from the hospital?
  • Will I have to change my diet (food/alcohol)?
  • When can I go back to work?
  • Will I be able to go out with family and friends?
  • How will it affect my sex life?
  • Will I be able to travel?

In this section

Stoma Site Marking

Before your surgery, a NSWOC or your surgeon will examine your abdomen to pick the best location for the stoma. Learn More

Purchasing Supplies

Purchasing supplies before and after surgery. Learn More

Ostomates’ Charter of Rights

It is the declared objective of the International Ostomy Association that this CHARTER shall be realized in all Countries of the World. Learn More

How Do I Find a NSWOC/WOC nurse?

Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy & Continence and Wound Ostomy Continence nurses specialize in the care of people with wounds, ostomy and continence. They are Registered Nurses (RNs) with specialized training and education in these areas. Learn More