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Ostomy terminology

When you are introduced to the term ostomy you may not be aware of the new words and phrases that you will hear associated with being an ostomate.

Ostomy terminology

We have created a basic ostomy terminology guide to get you started. All of these words will soon start to become familiar to you. We will continue to add terms and definitions to this list, please feel free to share any terms below that we haven’t listed.   

Appliance –   A collection device consisting of a wafer and a pouch worn over the stoma to contain body waste.

Closed bags – They must be removed completely and replaced. They tend to be worn by those with a colostomy. The output is generally well formed and would be changed once or twice a day. 

Colostomy – surgical opening from the colon to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma.  

Convexity (Convex stoma appliances) – Convexity is defined as the outward curving of a base plate or skin barrier.  The convexity allows the stoma to stick out more to ensure the output empties into the pouch instead of underneath the pouching system. 

Drainable/open bags – They have an opening at the bottom through which the contents are drained. This opening is usually secured using velcro or a clip. They can be emptied without being removed.

Flange – The flange is a plastic ring on a two-piece pouching system. The flange on the pouch and the flange on the skin barrier must match to create a secure pouching system.

Filter – Lets out gas but not odour out of the pouch.
Ileostomy – surgical opening from the ileum (next definition) to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma.

Ostomy – surgical opening from the intestines or ureters to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma.

Pancaking – this is when the output collects around the stoma and can squeeze between the flange and the skin instead of going into the bag. 

Peristomal Skin – this the skin immediately around the stoma.
Stoma - surgical opening in the abdomen to allow for disposal of body wastes.
Stoma measuring guide – A card used to measure the stoma from the base. This is useful in selecting the right pouch size. 

Urostomy – In a urostomy operation a passageway will be made for urine to pass from your kidneys to the outside of your abdomen to form a stoma. 

Wear time - This is the length of time a product can be worn before it begins to fail. This can vary depending on the product. 

1 piece – This system has the bag and adhesive base plate (also known as flange, wafer or skin protector/barrier) combined as one item.

2 piece - This system has a separate bag and adhesive base plate which attach to each other using either a clip-on or stick-on coupling system.