Stoma too close to bellybutton? Here are some tips

Many of you have heard me griping about my stoma being too close to my bellybutton (navel). I didn’t have any preoperative stoma marking (that I know of) because my surgery was an emergency so my stoma is quite close to my navel. Having the stoma close to the navel has been a source of frustration because the edge of the flange partially or completely overlaps the belly button which causes a weak point, particularly with water. Water gets under the edge of the flange from my navel and every one of my (many) leaks has originated from this point. Here are some tips for how to get the most out of your flange if you experience the same issue that I have.

1. Use a cut to fit or moldable flange and offset hole toward the navel. Pre-cut flanges have the opening for the stoma in the middle of the flange which prevent you from adjusting the cut.  See the photos below for how to mark a cut to move the flange away from the navel.

The photos above are for a Hollister flange however the same process works well on Coloplast, Convatec, Cymed, Genairex and Marlen flanges.

2. Cut a small slit in the edge of the flange near your navel. This allows you to fold the adhesive into the navel which ensures you wont get water under the adhesive region. I’m not sure what those of you with “outies” will be able to do :/ sorry. I will just show the Hollister option for simplicity but this can be done with any company.

Using steps 1 and 2 I am able to move the flange away from the navel (step 1) and also fold the part of the flange that hangs over the navel down (step 2). This ensures I get a much better seal that is far more water resistant.

3. Special consideration for Coloplast flanges. Coloplast flanges are more oval shaped which for me still cover the navel when I perform steps 1 and 2 which leave it open to water vulnerability. To get around this I have to change the whole orientation of the flange from horizontal to vertical. Yes you lose the ability to use the belt clips however I am able to get a far more effective seal which I value more. Furthermore, with the clip systems you are still able to rotate the bag for a Stealthbelt or similar product for support.

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