Stoma-related complications and stoma size – a 2-year follow up


Eva Persson, School of Health Sciences, University of Borås, Allégatan 1, SE-501 90 Borås, Sweden. E-mail:


Aim  The purpose of the study was to prospectively describe stoma configuration and evaluate stoma-related complications and their association with possible risk factors.

Method  All elective patients (n = 180) operated on with a formation of colostomy, ileostomy or loop-ileostomy between 2003 and 2005 were included in the study. Follow up took place on the ward postoperatively and five times during 2 years after discharge. On these occasions the diameter and height of the stoma were recorded. Complications such as peristomal skin problems, necrosis, leakage caused by a low stoma, stenosis, granuloma formation, prolapse and peristomal hernia formation were evaluated.

Results  Most complications occurred 2 weeks after discharge; 53% of patients with colostomies, 79% with loop-ileostomies and 70% of patients with end-ileostomy had one or more complications. The most common complication was skin problems and it was most common in patients with end-ileostomies (60%) and loop-ileostomies (73%). Postoperatively at ward review, the most common complication was necrosis, which occurred in 20% of patients with a colostomy. Granuloma formation was most frequent in colostomies. Almost all patients with an end-ileostomy and loop-ileostomy with a height lower than 20 mm had leakage and skin problems as had half of the patients with a colostomy height lower than 5 mm.

Conclusion  To prevent stoma-related complications, it is important to produce an adequate height of the stoma, with early and regular follow ups and adjustment of the appliance. To work closely in collaboration with the colorectal surgeons is of utmost important to provide feedback and in turn, to improve stoma outcome.