Disclaimer: The information in this post is based on product knowledge from product information direct from the manufacturer and also personal use of products within my own stoma care. All experiences given here are my own and should not be taken as medical advice. If you require advice or support about any aspect of your stoma care, please contact your SCN in the first instance or your GP.

What is it?

“Extender” refers to a product which extends your baseplate on your ostomy appliance. They are often called ‘flange extenders‘ or ‘tape‘ or ‘half moon‘ in more colloquial settings.

Common selling points for extenders are:

  • Secures the position of the baseplate and is flexible so it follows your body shape and movements.
  • Shaped to fit other body profiles and baseplate shapes.
  • Provides additional adhesion – useful for creases, scars hernias and prolapsed stomas.
  • Moisture absorbent, absorbing moisture without affecting the adhesive of the baseplate.
  • Increases pouch wear time, especially when putting extra pressure on the flange, such as while gardening and playing sport.
  • The thin, skin-friendly hydrocolloid nature of the extenders means they are easy to apply and help secure the edges of your baseplate.  Ensures your bags do not lift from your skin.
  • Delivers added confidence and reassurance.
  • Allowing the skin to breathe naturally;  this helps prevent any build up of sweat, which is often the primary causes of adhesion loss.
  • On removal, extenders will peel off in one go causing less trauma to the area surrounding your stoma.

Who uses it?

Can be used by a variety of different ostomates; primary those who engage in regular physical activities or for those who experience leaks and are looking for extra security around the edge of their baseplates.

How is it used?

There is only way to apply an extender and this is directly to the baseplate once on your skin.

For general use, this is a great illustration of how to use – in this instance Pelican’s Contour extenders:

This involves:

  1. Apply your stoma bag as per your normal routine.
  2. Ensure the baseplate is well adhered to your skin by placing your hands over to ensure the heat helps stick the product.
  3. Release the extender from its liners and line up to your preferred area of trouble.
  4. Apply by placing one end to your baseplate, ensuring it lies flush o your stability ring.
  5. Follow the extender around your baseplate.
  6. Repeat if necessary.
  7. Apply some pressure to ensure the far edge of the extender makes contact and is stuck.

NB: you might find that the edge of the extender comes away during showering or bathing. This is common but does not interfere with the integrity of the product. It might be beneficial to apply the extenders a couple of hours prior to bathing or swimming, for instance.

When is it used?

Extenders are commonly used for additional security. It can give protection and reassurance of not having a leak; which for some, can prevent them from leaving home or engaging in social activities.

However, extenders can be used in a variety of different positions – either way the way around the baseplate for extra general security, on half of the baseplate to ensure a better security in a particular area or on a spot where a leak has begun and it would like to be stopped.

For this purpose, many of the extenders out there come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate the variety of uses, but also the variety of user’s body shapes. It is worth sampling some of the different shapes and styles in order to find which one best suits your needs.

My experience

I use extenders when I do physical activity or when I go swimming. This unfortunately only happens occasionally but. I frequently ‘patch’ my baseplate up with some elastic tape. If I find a leak seeping through at the end of my stability ring, I will use half an extender to extend the life of my bag. I usually change my bag when I can feel an itchy underneath, so this use of extenders can give me another 24 hrs with my bag on before the integrity of my baseplate closer to my stoma has been affected.

I’ve tried a variety of different extenders, but have concluded that the Brava Elastic Tape is a good all-rounder; so much so that I cut my half-moon into half again and use them on my troublesome area when leaks are prone. I’ve found this to be very successful.

Samples

NB: all products are available on the UK Drug Tariff and should be available on prescription. For those with a permanent stoma, they are entitled to stoma products under a Medical Exception Certificate, valid for 5 years. Some GP’s are governed by a Clinic Comissioning Group (CCG) Formulary – which dictates qualities and expected usage of products. It is worth enquiring about this, if needs be. 

Do you have any questions or queries? Or just want to share your own experiences? You can leave me a reply here or leave comments via my social media accounts – on Twitter, find my blog page on Facebook and over on Instagram

Further Reading:

VeganOstomy – A Mini Guide to Ostomy Wafer Extenders