ostomy extender

Ostomy Barrier Extenders: How to Use Them & Why

For ostomates, barrier extenders can improve your experience in many ways. If you need a more secure fit, read on to see if these versatile accessories might work for you.

What are Barrier Extenders?

A secure fit between stoma and ostomy bag is essential to maintaining a healthy peristomal area. Because stomas come in all shapes and sizes, not everyone will achieve the ultimate fit with a one-piece pouch or two-piece ostomy system alone. Barrier extenders are designed to be placed around the barrier plate, picture-frame style. This adds security to the barrier, customizing your fit on uneven or bulging skin, as well as stomas with a surrounding fistula or wound. They are flexible, self-adhesive and often crescent-shaped. Barrier extenders can also help reduce the risk of leaks and increase wear time by widening the adhesion coverage area and keeping the barrier edge from lifting.

The flexible hydrocolloid formulation allows them to absorb moisture that could compromise the integrity of the skin barrier seal. Three barrier extenders can usually reinforce the entire outer edge of the wafer, but you can use as many as you feel are necessary.

You may want to consider using extenders if:

  • You want an enhanced sense of security
  • You do not use a skin barrier with an integrated tape border
  • You need extra adhesion to accommodate abdominal creases

Benefits of Ostomy Barrier Extenders

Barrier extenders offer specific benefits that may improve the overall experience of living with an ostomy, including:

Added Security
Placing barrier extenders around the barrier plate adds surface area, creating a more ideal situation for the ostomy system to gain better adhesion. This helps prevent leaks, odors and skin irritation.

Flexible Construction
Ostomy barrier extenders are designed to be flexible and elastic to conform to myriad body shapes and allow for regular, day-to-day movement without losing adherence. This flexible construction can improve confidence and wear time.

Ostomy barrier extenders often include skin-friendly ingredients, like hydrocolloid or ceramide. Peristomal skin health is paramount for the best ostomy experience, and creating an effective seal that avoids leakage without causing medical adhesive skin damage is the first step toward maintaining a healthy peristomal area.

Ostomy Barrier Extenders vs. Ostomy Tapes

Many medical tapes are air or water permeable, which makes them a skin-friendly choice for other applications, but their fabric construction and limited shapes make them a poor choice for securing an ostomy system. Others offer great adhesion and a watertight seal. Skin barrier extenders, however, offer all of those aspects, plus a range of stoma-friendly shapes and skin-loving properties that fit seamlessly with most ostomy pouches and wafers.

Choosing the Best Barrier Extenders for Your Ostomy

Extenders should be designed to meet the unique contours of your body while providing a customized fit to frame your pouching system.

Adapt™ barrier extenders are part of an ostomy care accessory family designed to meet the unique needs of your body by framing the skin barrier with a thin, flexible adhesive to protect the skin’s integrity and provide an added sense of security.


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