The study, conducted by a team* of 17 medical professionals and health researchers, led by Dr Joshua Kovoor and supervised by Professor Peter Hewett, comprised a systematic review and meta-analysis aiming to characterise depressive symptoms after stoma surgery.

Key findings include: 

- Overall prevalence of depressive symptoms in stoma patients after their surgery was 41 per cent.
- Across the included longitudinal studies, 6-month postoperative prevalence was 39 per cent. 
- Across the included longitudinal studies, 12-month postoperative prevalence was 42 per cent. 
- Patients with a stoma had significantly higher rates and risk of depressive symptoms compared to patients undergoing surgery without stoma formation. 

Dr Joshua Kovoor, a  researcher, medical intern and PhD candidate with the University of Adelaide said a patient’s depressive state after stoma surgery could be linked to a few key factors.

“After stoma surgery, many patients struggle physically and mentally post-surgery, especially with a loss of self, intimacy, and body image, in response to multiple psychological stressors,” Dr Kovoor said.

“The research highlights how we can improve care to stoma patients before and after their surgery.  

“Stoma patients at risk of developing depressive symptoms should be identified early, and have access to mental health services, including psychologists and psychiatrists to assist with their overall care.” 

Professor Peter Hewett, RACS Fellow and Senior Colorectal Surgeon at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital said when forming a stoma, the surgeon will take care to ensure it  has good position and proper shape. 

“A preoperative visit from a stomal therapist aids in both deciding the optimal position on the abdomen to place the stoma and gives reassurance that help will be available in the post operative period to manage the stoma,” Professor Hewett said. 

The team’s research will be unveiled at the the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress in Brisbane (2-6 May).

The Congress is the largest multi-disciplinary surgical meeting held in the southern hemisphere and brings together some of the top surgical and medical minds from across New Zealand, Australia, and the rest of the world.


For more information about the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress, please visit:

*Dr Joshua Kovoor, Dr Jonathan Henry Jacobsen, Dr Brandon Stretton, Dr Aashray Gupta, Dr Brayden Claridge, Dr Matthew Steen, Dr Ameya Bhanushali, Dr Lorenz Bartholomeusz, Ms Suzanne Edwards, Dr Gayatri Asokan, Dr Gopika Asokan, Ms Amanda Summers, Dr Christopher Ovenden, Dr Joseph Hewitt, Dr Markus Trochsler, Prof Guy Maddern and Prof Peter Hewett.

Media enquiries: Abderazzaq Noor, Head of Marketing & Communications
Contact: +61 429 028 933