Living with an ostomy doesn’t mean you have to live with stoma fluid leakage or skin irritation. Your skin barrier fit plays a large role in your skin health experience. The good news is that there are different product options that take your particular stoma and the skin around it into consideration.
Flat versus convex skin barriers
Ostomy skin barriers are either flat or convex. These descriptions refer to how the barrier is constructed. A convex skin barrier curves outward towards the skin around your stoma (i.e., your peristomal skin) to increase the depth of the barrier. A flat skin barrier, on the other hand, has a level or even surface area that comes in contact with the peristomal skin.
When a convex skin barrier may improve fit
The characteristics of your stoma and peristomal skin can help you determine whether to use a flat or convex skin barrier.
A flat skin barrier may work best if your stoma sticks out above the level of your skin and has an opening right in the middle, and if your peristomal skin is flat and free of creases and folds.
A convex skin barrier may be the best choice if your stoma is not above the level of your skin, if it protrudes less than an inch, and/or if you have a dip or indented areas around your stoma. The outward curving of the convex skin barrier places pressure on your peristomal skin to help your stoma protrude, or to help open or flatten skin folds – which helps prevent leakage. If you’re having trouble keeping your pouch on, a convex skin barrier may give you a more secure seal around your stoma and a longer wear-time.
Choosing a pre-sized or cut-to-fit convex skin barrier
If you decide to use a convex skin barrier, you’ll need to choose either a pre-sized or a cut-to-fit barrier. Both flat and convex skin barriers offer these two options.
If your stoma is round and its size is no longer changing, you may want to choose a convex skin barrier that has an opening already cut to the proper size. You’ll usually see the term “pre-sized” used to describe this type of skin barrier.
If your stoma is oval, irregular in shape, or still changing, you may need to cut your convex skin barrier to the correct size. You’ll see the term “cut-to-fit” used to describe this type of skin barrier.
Ostomy skin barriers are available with many different options. Be sure to work with your ostomy care nurse to determine if convexity is right for you. Medical Monks representatives are also available with any questions you may have.