Transverse Colostomy

Transverse colostomy is another type of colostomy that is performed and it is located on the upper abdomen, either towards the body’s right side or in the middle. This type of surgical procedure allows the stool to exit the body before reaching the descending colon. It is usually done to treat different colon problems, diseases or injury. Through surgery the normal body function of expelling waste material become altered to permit stool to take a different route to exit the body.

There are several reasons why one may need a transverse colostomy. They may include: diverticulitis, the inflammation of the diverticula, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, blockages or injury and trauma to the colon. Some conditions can cause abscesses, scarring with abnormal narrowing, or colon rupture and infection in severe instances.

In these cases of lower bowels problems, the affected parts might require some time to rest and heal. A transverse colostomy may be required to keep stool from passing to the infected, inflamed or newly operated on areas of the colon. This allows for the healing process to take place. The type of colostomy carried out in such a case is usually temporary and it may be required for a few weeks, or months. If the colon heals quickly and completely, the colostomy can be surgically reversed to allow normal bowel function to resume.

A permanent transverse colostomy is typically performed when the lower part of the colon is too damaged to be repaired or in instances of a partial colectomy, or if some health problems persists rendering the patient unable to undergo more surgery. The colostomy procedure, therefore, forms a permanent exit for the stool.

Types of Transverse Colostomies

There are typically two different varieties of transverse colostomy that are performed.


A loop colostomy pulls a “loop” of the colon through the opening in the abdomen and a larger than normal stoma is created. This bigger stoma will have two openings, one for putting out stool and the other one for putting out mucus. The colon usually has some mucus secretion that protects it from bowel contents. The mucus goes together with the bowel movements which makes it often unnoticed. Despite not being in use, the resting part of the colon still proceeds with making mucus that will need to find its way out through anus, rectum or through the newly formed stoma.


During surgical procedures involving a double-barrel colostomy, the bowel is completely divided by the surgeon. Both openings come to the surface as a distinct/separate stoma. The two stomas may be separated by the skin or not and just as like the previous case involving loop type, one opening is for putting out stool while the other one puts out mucus only. The smaller stoma for mucus is called a mucus fistula. At times, the inactive portion of the bowel can be sewn or closed and be left inside the belly. This leaves only one stoma, implying that the mucus emanating from the resting part of the bowel moves out via the rectum.

Characteristics of a Transverse Colostomy

transverse-colostomyA colostomy made in the colon right half of the body implies that only a small portion of the colon on that side is active. The stool coming out from transverse colostomy changes from time to and from person to person. Some transverse colostomies may eject firm stool at different irregular intervals, but a majority usually eject loose/soft stool at a fairly regular intervals. It is worth noting that digestive enzymes may also be part of the waste material exiting the body. These can be extremely irritating thus there is need for the surrounding skin to be protected. Controlling of transverse colostomies using medicines, special diets, enemas or irrigation normally does not work and it is therefore not advisable. A pouching system is mostly worn over the colostomy at all times. This works to protect the skin from being in contact with the stool as fecal matter makes its way out and is collected. Although there are many different types of colostomy pouches and systems available a lot of transverse colostomy patients prefer using a light weight and drainable colostomy bag. An ostomy nurse will help patients find and learn which pouching system is right for them and will make sure the patient knows how to care for their colostomy prior to leaving the hospital. They are a great resource for information and advice when it comes to colostomy care needs or any problems that might be encountered.

In case you need any type of colostomy, you should always consult a qualified doctor or surgeon. Proper consultations and advice on your health condition is required before opting for transverse colostomy.