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Early Postoperative Complications Following Ostomy Surgery: A Review

Butler, Doris L. BA, RN, CWOCN, CCRN

Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing: September-October 2009 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 513–519
doi: 10.1097/WON.0b013e3181b35eaa

This article reviews early postoperative complications in adults undergoing ostomy surgery. Whether the ostomy is the result of an emergent or elective procedure, the WOC nurse and staff nurses are responsible for monitoring and ensuring quality healthcare for the patient. Nevertheless, many patients undergoing ostomy surgery experience a complication during the early postoperative period. Early postoperative complications not only influence immediate postoperative care but may also impact quality of life for the person living with an ostomy. Keen assessment skills, early recognition of signs and symptoms of a complication, and prompt interventions are crucial to maintaining a viable stoma and a successful surgical outcome.

Doris L. Butler, BA, RN, CWOCN, CCRN, WOC Nurse, Acute Care, Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, Pennsylvania.

Corresponding author: Doris L. Butler, BA, RN, CWOCN, CCRN, Abington Memorial Hospital, 1200 Old York Road, Abington, PA 19001 (

Copyright © 2009 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society