Ostomy wafers

Wafers are plastic rings for a critical purpose – holding your ostomy bag in place. Wafers are also referred to as baseplates, which are indeed a connection between the pouching system and the skin barrier.

The ostomy wafer is that ingredient of ‘ostomy accessories’ that draw the fine line of difference between a two-piece pouching system and a one-piece pouching system. In the case of the former, the wafer separates the skin barrier and the pouch in such a manner so that when the bag is pulled off for changing or emptying purposes, the skin barrier remains intact in its place. This saves the reapplication of the adhesive (in the barrier) to your skin repeatedly. Individuals who need to change or empty the ostomy bag frequently reap the benefits of wafers the most!

Therefore, wafers are primarily advantageous for frequent pouch-changers. So, the reason for choosing a two-piece system by ostomy patients is rightly served by these plastic rings. However, these accessories have sub-types too. So, wafers are not simple rings; they fit in a lot of uses. A brief discussion on the three available variants of wafers would elaborate on their applications.

What are the different types of wafers?

Before answering this, one should have an idea of why wafers differ in their types. Baseplates or plastic rings come in three sizes due to the variation in stoma sizes. The three sizes namely are:

1. Pre-cut wafers: These are the most commonly available ones for the general circular stomas. They do not undergo any alteration in size or shape. They are therefore not fit for individuals whose stoma is generally not circular.

2. Cut-to-fit wafers: Some wafers are available with different sizes printed on them. Now, the user can cut the size that particularly fits the size of his or her stoma. Ostomy candidates face this issue of having stoma sizes that fall in between the regular ones. The shape could be irregular too. The cut-to-fit wafers are the perfect ones for these cases.

3. Moldable Wafers: Moldable wafers are among the newest technologies available in the market. Not only do they consist of the virtues of the cut-to-fit wafers, but they are also available with some extra benefits. The flexible material is used in their manufacturing. This allows the user to roll back the pouch with the snuggling of fingers to achieve the right size and shape! Hence, one can match the appliance with his or her requirements. After being molded, it is placed on the skin around the stoma. Quite reasonably, the moldable technology allows the ostomy bag to fit more perfectly, and this style is known as “turtle-necking”. It has two primary benefits:

a. It gives the maximum possible comfort to the user.

b. It significantly prevents leakage issues that most ostomy patients are stressed with.

There is yet another categorization of wafers; they can be categorized into Flat and Convex. A brief account of Flat vs Convex wafers has been discussed in this post too.

Convex ostomy wafers

What is Flat vs Convex wafers?

Flat and convex wafers serve two separate purposes; first, the stoma could be protruding about a quarter of an inch outside the body. Second, it could either lie in flat (in line with your skin) or retreat a little inwards. So, how do these two types of wafers function separately?

The flat wafers can adapt flexibly to the contours of an individual’s body. Therefore, a slightly protruding stoma that empties perfectly into the pouch can easily be complemented with a flat wafer; the protruding stoma bears lesser leakage issues.

Contrarily, if the stoma lies flat or slightly inwards, there are ample chances that the effluent leaks underneath the wafer, irritates the skin. The convex wafer is well adapted to this situation. The hole of the stoma is fitted at the center of the wafer (that is convex-shaped to form a bowl-like structure). This structure, in turn, ensures efficient draining of the body-waste into the pouch.

Overall, the flat baseplates are more popular and flexible to use than the convex ones. The convex ones could be worrisome for those with rounded bellies too!

With an overview of wafers from this post, you are now ideally capable of making a choice on which variety of those plastic rings will suit you the best. Even if you have vested your medical professional with the job, it is of utmost importance for you to have a fair idea on the issue.

Ostomy secrets...

Before signing off, a few essential tips for you!

• Be careful once it starts burning or itching underneath the wafer.

• Shave your skin that surrounds the stoma – it helps the wafer stick better.

• Check your skin each time you remove a wafer and take care if you notice any erosion!

[Read more on: Convatec ostomy]

How to keep ostomy bag from leaking?

Changing the pouch frequently is of pivotal importance. You cannot afford to allow the bag to be more than half full - the extra weight would strain your the skin barrier and the peristomal skin. Itching and other skin complications could result in leakage. So, timely changing and empting the pouch is one of the first steps to keep leakage at bay!