Pathology dictionary

What is a stoma?

A stoma is a medically created connection between an internal organ and the outside of the body. Your pathologist may receive tissue from a stoma if a surgery is performed to fix or close the stoma or if your doctor is concerned that the stoma looks abnormal. When examined under the microscope, tissue from the stoma is often made up of both skin and the type of cells normally found in the connected organ.

The most common locations for a stoma are:

Neck – A stoma in this area is usually created to connect the trachea (windpipe) to the skin on the outside of the body. The purpose of this stoma is to allow air to get in and out of the lungs when the airway above the stoma has become blocked. This kind of stoma is also sometimes created when a person requires a medical device to help them breathe.

Abdomen – A stoma in this area is usually created to connect a part of the small bowel to the skin on the outside of the body. The purpose of this stoma is to allow waste products from the stomach and small bowel to be removed from the body when the colon has become blocked or has been removed.

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