How ostomy products have evolved over the years

Clinical Advisor

From A Bigger Life

The history of the stoma

The science behind the manufacturing of stoma appliances has really developed over the last 10-15 years. History has shown that stoma’s had actually been created many years ago, the first recorded stoma formed was back from the battlefields, before the First World War. They would have used plastic bags to go over the stoma and contain the contents coming out. More recently in the 1940’s and 1950’s patients would have been discharged with a re-usable rubber appliance. It took alot of work to be able to get them onto the skin, you had to have a medical wash, an adhesive plate which was taped down and then the actual bag was stretched over that. People do still use these rubber bags today, they would just wash them out and reapply them. They emptied in various forms, some of them had taps or screw tops. The people who still use them wouldn’t want to particularly change to a more modern appliance.

Development of stoma appliances

The research behind the development of stoma appliances has been amazing over the last 10-15 years. The most obvious changes is the development of the soft covers that are now on the appliances. This helps the appliance be discreet and allows the water to run off it without soaking into the material.

Another good development has been the introduction of filters. This is still a work in progress for alot of manufacturing companies as they are striving to get a filter that works effectively 24 hours a day.

The development of the hydrocolloids has been amazing. In some instances you need a hydrocolloid that you can change 3-4 times per day, they have been designed to be easy to remove but also skin friendly. For other products you want to be able to keep the bag on for 3-4 days at a time, therefore different hydrocolloids had been developed to cope with that length of wear time.

A number of years ago the only outlet available was a hard clip that you would have sealed the end of the bag with. All companies are creating the appliances with velcro to make it a little easier to empty your pouch.

Today there is a full range of product options and numerous manufacturers dedicated to developing ostomy pouching systems and devices helping to improve the quality of life for ostomates.

If you have any stories about old ostomy products that you may have used we would love to hear from you.

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