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Surgical formation of an artificial anus by making an opening from the colon through the abdominal wall. It may be done to decompress an obstructed colon, to allow excretion when part of the colon must be removed, or to permit healing of the colon. Colostomy may be temporary or permanent. A sigmoid colostomy, the most common type of permanent colostomy, requires no appliances (though a light pouch is sometimes worn for reassurance) and allows a normal life except for the route of fecal excretion. See alsoostomy.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on colostomy, visit Britannica.com.