Peristomal Skin Complications in Ileostomy and Colostomy Patients: What We Need to Know from a Public Health Perspective

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Dec 21;20(1):79. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20010079.


Background: Peristomal skin complications (PSCs) are the most common skin problems seen after ostomy surgery. They have a considerable impact on a patient's quality of life and contribute to a higher cost of care.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted, querying three databases. The analysis was performed on international studies focused on the clinical-epidemiological burden of PSCs in adult patients with ileostomy/colostomy.

Results: Overall, 23 studies were considered. The main diseases associated with ostomy surgery were rectal, colon and gynecological cancers, inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulitis, bowel obstruction and intestinal perforation. Erythema, papules, skin erosions, ulcers and vesicles were the most common PSCs for patients with an ostomy (or stoma). A PSCs incidence ranging from 36.3% to 73.4% was described. Skin complications increased length of stay (LOS) and rates of readmission within 120 days of surgery.

Conclusions: PSCs data are still limited. A knowledge of their burden is essential to support health personnel and decision-makers in identifying the most appropriate responses to patients' needs. Proper management of these complications plays a fundamental role in improving the patient's quality of life. A multidisciplinary approach, as well as increased patient education and their empowerment, are priority measures to be implemented to foster a value-based healthcare.

Keywords: PSCs; burden of disease; colostomy; ileostomy; ostomy surgery; peristomal skin complications; public health.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colostomy* / adverse effects
  • Erythema
  • Humans
  • Ileostomy* / adverse effects
  • Public Health
  • Quality of Life

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding. Universitá Cattolica del Sacro Cuore contributed to the funding of this publication with funds from UCSC-Line D.1 2022.