An ostomy is an opening in the body, created by surgery, for the discharge of body waste. The ostomy enables urine or stool to be "re-routed" to exit through a stoma that protrudes through the opening in the abdominal wall.

An ostomy may be part of the treatment for conditions such as Hirschsprung's disease, a birth defect involving the lack of nerves that control muscle contractions in the large intestine, or an imperforate anus, a birth defect in which the rectum is abnormal.

For most families, learning that a child needs an ostomy can be very frightening. Parents and children need training on the use of an ostomy pouch and the supplies necessary for good stoma care.