What is a loop ostomy?

What is a loop ostomy?

A loop ostomy is a type of surgical procedure that involves creating a stoma by using a loop of the intestine, hence the name “loop ostomy.”  A loop of the intestine is brought to the surface of the abdomen and a stoma is formed so stool can exit the body.  With a loop stoma, typically there are two openings or lumens.  The proximal stoma is the functional stoma where stool exits the body. And, the distal stoma serves as a mucous fistula. Typically loop ostomies and loop stomas are temporary.  This is done to protect a distal anastomosis or to divert stool away from an obstruction.

Loop stomas are often called a double barrel stoma because of the similar appearance to that of a double barrel shotgun. See the picture above and you’ll see why it gets that name.  Sometimes surgeons will use a bridge or supporting rod underneath the stoma to provide additional support and prevent the stoma from retracting back inside the body.

Pouching a loop stoma

Because the loop stoma is producing mucous, it needs to be contained and pouched with the fecal stoma.  This can be challenging especially if there is a rod or bridge in place.  It is very important to take accurate measurements and use a skin barrier that is large enough for both stomas.

To learn more about stomas and ostomy management, check out our ostomy management certification course .


Jeffrey Despommier, OTR, OMS, CUA, ATP


About the author – Jeffrey is an occupational therapist with over 15 years of rehabilitation experience. He is board certified as a urologic associate and ostomy management specialist.  He also specializes in complex rehab technology and is board certified as an assistive technology professional.

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