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Simplified diagram of the digestive system
An ileostomy involves bypassing or removing the colon3 and sometimes the rectum4. Waste matter cannot leave the body in the same way, so the surgeon will move the end of the ileum (part of the small intestine)2 to the surface of the abdomen – the end of the ileum is the stoma. Waste matter comes out of the stoma and collects in a stoma bag that is attached around it. This waste matter will be runny and will be passed quite frequently – this is because the waste material will not have passed through the colon, which is where the most of the water in the waste is normally absorbed into the body.
Ileostomies are normally performed in very serious cases of inflammatory bowel disease (such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease). Temporary ileostomies can also be used to give the intestine a chance to rest and heal, or if you need to have a tumour removed.
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