A loop colostomy is a kind of colostomy that may be done to either manage gastrointestinal issues or provide bowel rest. It is easier to reverse than other types, which makes it a common option for temporary colostomies.

Sometimes, the colon is not able to fully function properly, and a doctor will need to perform a colostomy.

This is a procedure in which the large intestine bypasses the rectum and is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This allows stool and gas to leave the body. A loop colostomy is one type of colostomy.

This article will provide more detail on the loop colostomy and what it’s used for.

Different kinds of colostomies are performed for different reasons, including your age, the specific health condition the surgery is helping treat, and your overall health.

In general, a colostomy is a procedure in which an opening is made in the colon and is connected to an opening in the abdomen, allowing waste to exit the body. A bag or pouch is attached to collect the waste. It can be temporary or permanent, depending on the underlying reason for the procedure.

With a loop colostomy, a loop of the colon is surgically pulled through a cut in your stomach. That loop is then opened up, stitched to your skin to form a new opening — also known as a stoma — from the large intestine to the outside, where stool and gas can exit the body.

You may need a loop colostomy because of:

  • rectal cancer that cannot be removed surgically
  • radiation proctitis
  • incontinence
  • complicated rectal carcinoma with stenosis (scarring that creates narrowing of openings)
  • complex perianal fistulas: a fistula is an abnormal connection between two organs
  • protective stoma in deep anterior rectal resection

If your healthcare team suggests a loop colostomy, they can provide more details about your condition and explain why they are recommending it over another procedure. They can also discuss if you’ll need to follow a special diet following the colostomy.

Typically, after you eat, the food eventually goes into your stomach, then to the small intestine, and then the large intestine, also called the colon.

Whatever is not able to be digested is expelled through your anus as stool, or poop. For much of its travel through the colon, your stool is liquid. As it gets closer to the rectum, your stool becomes firmer.

In a loop colostomy, a cut is made in the side of the colon and stitched to a hole in the abdominal wall. The edges of the colon are folded over and turned over, like a cuff, around the opening.

This kind of operation allows it to be reversed more easily — the colon is detached from the abdomen and sewn back together to allow stool to pass through.

A bag or a pouch is attached to the stoma, or the opening in the abdomen. This collects the poop and mucus that goes through the colon.

The surgery itself can take several hours, depending on the kind of colostomy and the reason for getting it.

When you plan for a scheduled loop colostomy, you can usually expect to be in the hospital for 3 to 4 days. An emergency colostomy might require a longer stay.

In addition to recuperating from the surgery during your time in the hospital, you’ll also be learning how to care for your colostomy and how to manage waste.

You’ll be shown how to clean the stoma, how to change the pouch, and how to use any other equipment you might require. An ostomy nurse will assist you.

Loop colostomies are typically temporary since they can be more easily reversed. However, they can also be permanent.

It also depends on the underlying reason for the colostomy. For things like infections, inflammation, or an injury, bowel rest may be recommended, and so the colostomy is temporary.

When it is healed and ready to be fully functional again, it can be reversed. For more serious matters, the colostomy may be permanent.

While you won’t be pooping as usual with a loop colostomy, the colon is still connected to the rectum. This means it is still possible for you to pass some stool, gas, or mucus through the rectum.

A loop colostomy is one kind of colostomy that may be done to either manage gastrointestinal issues or provide bowel rest. It is easier to reverse than other colostomies, which makes it a common option for temporary colostomies.

An ostomy nurse can be a great resource, teaching you how to clean the stoma, replace the bag, and to how to adapt everyday activities to your new situation.