By Joy Hooper RN, BSN, CWOCN
The appearance of a new stoma on a patient’s abdomen can be shocking for the patient, family members, caregivers, and even some healthcare professionals. Stomas presented in textbooks, educational literature, and diagrams often appear round and “budded.” Patients will sometimes see images of other stomas and compare it to the appearance of their stoma. If their stoma is flush with the skin on the abdomen or retracted they may feel the surgeon did a poor job. Actually, the patient's body can have just as much to do with the appearance of the stoma as the surgeons surgical technique does.