Does preoperative stoma marking and education by the enterostomal therapist affect outcome?

E. M. Bass, A. Del Pino, A. Tan, R. K. Pearl, C. P. Orsay, H. Abcarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: It is generally accepted that preoperative patient education and skin marking for a stoma location are important in avoiding stoma complications. At our institution, enterostomal therapists are available to educate and mark patients before their surgery. However, for various reasons, not all patients who had an elective stoma created, had preoperative skin marking or instructions on stoma care. Our registry of patients provided us with a means of comparing patients who have undergone an elective stoma with (Group I) and without (Group II) preoperative marking and education. METHODS: Our stoma registry consisting of 1,790 patients was retrospectively reviewed from 1978 to 1996 to assess all patients who underwent elective stoma construction. Patients included for review had a total of 593 elective stomas. All patients with stomas are followed by the enterostomal therapists postoperatively and, therefore, were evaluated for both early and late complications. Early complications were defined as any adverse event occurring within 30 days of surgery and late complications as those occurring 30 days after surgery. RESULTS: Our enterostomal therapists preoperatively evaluated 292 of the 593 patients planned for possible stoma creation. This included careful marking of the stoma site by having the patients lie down, sit, and stand and locating a stable flat area on the abdomen, taking into account the belt line and any abnormal skin creases or deformities. Patients were instructed on stoma appearance with a model and given basic stoma care instructions. In Group I, there were 95 (32.5 percent) complications (68 (23.3 percent) occurred early and 27 (9.25 percent) occurred late). There were 301 patients who did not receive preoperative evaluation (Group II). In this second group, 131 (43.5 percent) complications were found, (95 (31.6 percent) occurred early and 36 (12 percent) occurred late). The difference in total number of complications between groups was determined to be statistically significant, with a P value of <0.0075, as was the difference in early complications, with a P value of <0.03. The difference in late complications is not significant, with a P value of <0.34. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm that preoperative evaluation by an enterostomal therapist, marking of the skin site, and providing patient education reduce adverse outcomes. All elective procedures that may result in stoma formation should, therefore, be assessed and marked preoperatively. Patients, likewise, should be informed and taught to care for their forthcoming stomas preoperatively and postoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-442
Number of pages3
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Enterostomal therapist
  • Stoma
  • Stoma complications
  • Stoma marking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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