To accurately define whether or not stenosis has occurred, consideration must be given to the diameter of the stoma, and the elasticity of the intestinal wall and of the surrounding tissue.
Colostomy stenoses are described as either precocious or belated depending on the post-operative time interval before the stenosis becomes evident. A further categorisation into either cutaneous or fascial has been identified, dependant on the tissue area affected: the muco-cutaneous junction or apical respectively.
When stricture occurs, difficulties can be experienced both in the discharge of faeces and in execution of irrigation procedures. The instigation of dilator therapy can stop the progressive stricture of the external colostomy orifice and, if correctly applied, reverse the process.