Stoma site marking

Before your surgery, a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy & Continence (NSWOC) or your surgeon will examine your abdomen to pick the best location for the stoma. Stoma site marking should be done for anyone going for ostomy surgery. Sometimes though, for instance when people need emergency surgery, it is not possible to have an expert in stoma site marking select the location of the stoma.

Why should a stoma site be marked?

Studies show that people who have had their stoma site marked before surgery have fewer ostomy-related complications. The goal of stoma site marking is to improve your ability to care for your stoma yourself, have predictable wear time with your pouching system, and make it easier to get back to your regular life and activities.

How is the stoma site selected?

The nurse or or surgeon marking your stoma site takes many factors into considerations.

Before surgery, your stoma site will be selected with these factors in mind:

  • The type of surgery you will be having
  • Where the rectus abdominus muscle is located (your stoma will be brought through this muscle)
  • Previous abdominal scars
  • Whether you can see the site marked so you can care for your stoma
  • The shape of your abdomen in different positions such as sitting, standing, bending, and what happens to the shape when you move
  • Where you wear your belt and the waist bands of your clothing
  • The use of special belts, braces, or a wheelchair, etc.

During your operation, the surgeon will determine if the stoma site marked before surgery will be safe for your stoma. Your surgeon will assess:

  • the health of the bowel
  • the blood supply of the bowel
  • the thickness of the abdomen.

The surgeon may choose a different site if necessary.