Ostomy innovation – what’s next?

While many say ostomy products have stagnated, the signs of innovation are everywhere. 

What if your cell phone sensed the volume in your pouch?  It could alert you when capacity is nearing full prompting a change. Heck, it could send readings to your doctor when needed. Google it.

What if the gas output was ballooning your pouch faster than your filter could release it? Innovation to the rescue.

What if you could measure every crease and wrinkle of your stoma and 3D print the perfect flange to connect to any pouch system on the market? Hit print.

For future ostomates, what if the ostomy surgery was better, using an innovative template helping surgeons ensure every stoma measures well? Coming soon.

This issue of the Sparrow will fail to completely cover ostomy innovation. Too much!  However, we will cover some fun stuff.  So dig in!

Cell phones, Bluetooth monitoring

Coloplast polished their nerd glasses hit the lab and came up with Heylo™which includes a sensor which fits to a baseplate and monitors for leakage sending alerts to a cel phone. Users get peace of mind with early information for signs of trouble. Coloplast won the iF design award which is impressive because more than 11,000 entries from 56 countries vyed for those awards. 

Coloplast is a great friend of Lincoln Ostomy Association as Coloplast rep Amy Wallace often supports and visits the group to introduce these types of products.

Another sensor, called the ostom-i™ Alert Sensor was introduced recently by 11health.com. The sensor also “talks” via Bluetooth to a phone. It clips on the outside of a pouch. The idea is to alert people at night in case a pouch gets too full. The accompanying app records volume over time which can be shared with a doctor or WOCN. 

Stoma creation

Few 20-year-old students would “have the guts” to approach a surgeon and say, “we found a better way to create a stoma.” That’s what a couple of biomechanical engineering students from UAB did. 

Ali El-Husari and Paige Severino spent a year thinking of ways to improve the pouch. That’s a tall order with more than 300 kinds of ostomy bags in the marketplace. They explored the formation of a stoma. Surgeons take a piece of intestine and roll it up like a shirt sleeve. The students found little direction for creating a standard stoma. Some literature called for stomas to be flush to the skin and others asked for several centimeters. Some simply said, “Make the stoma.” Those who live with a stoma know height is critical.  Through interviews and literature study, they designed a structure, like a stent, that surgeons could use as a guide to fold over intestines to a specific height. The students even printed the stoma-making structure on a 3D printer and demonstrated its use using pig intestine.

One demonstration with UAB’s top doctor was a bingo. UAB has embraced the effort, the chief surgeon is on board and ostomy nurses are excited.

Engineers go 3D for ostomy

Ivana Llobet, Jessica Nissen, and Patricia López students from an engineering school in Barcelona, Spain, created a product called Odapt which is a 3D-printed disc for an ostomy bag capable of adapting to any kind of stoma or stomach. Their disc is made of biocompatible silicone and is applied with silicone adhesive to the skin.

Simple, effective change tool

StomaGenie created a product making people say, “duh” Why didn’t I think of that? It’s a cartridge that absorbs stoma output during pouch replacement. In November 2012, Liney Guidry, underwent life-saving bladder cancer surgery, resulting in the creation of a stoma for personal waste discharge. His recovery was marred by difficulties in managing the stoma, leading to frustration, skin irritation, supply wastage, and social isolation. Determined to regain independence, he invented a device that granted him control over his stoma.

Recognizing the need for better ostomy care, his family, including daughter Theresa Johnson, developed StomaGenie, a disposable biodegradable cartridge that covers an exposed stoma, absorbs and contains waste, simplifying pouch changes. This product is covered by Medicare and health insurance for up to 30 cartridges per month and is available through major distributors like Edgepark, 180 Medical, and Amazon. 

Venting made easier

Steve Wakefield, an ostomate, was frustrated with leaks and odor and invented the Osto EZ-Vent gas filter which integrates with current pouches. This was a finalist for the 2019 UOAA Innovator of the Year.

Science of small

Na’Scent is also good LOA friends. They invented a product that does more than cover up a smell.  Na’Scent chemically breaks down odor compounds.  It was invented by ostomate Lane Benjamin in 2013 with chlorine dioxide technology. 

Ostomate hydration technology

H2ORS Oral Rehydration Solution was developed over 30 years ago by the World Health Organization to help reverse dehydration. Its remarkable effectiveness is why it continues to be used today, instead of sports drinks and even IV therapy, to save millions of lives every year. Ostomates often suffer short bowels and require more water, and more hydration to make up for it.