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 and is designed to protect a distal anastomosis or to divert stool away from an obstruction.

When the two openings for the stoma are side by side, they are often referred to as a double barrel stoma because of the similar appearance to that of a double barrel shotgun as seen in the picture above.  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.  Why a surgeon will perform a loop ostomy or loop stoma as opposed to an end stoma will vary depending on the patient’s condition, medical history and purpose for the procedure.

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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