ConvaTec SUR-FIT Natura Moldable: REVIEW (w/ video)

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Moldable ostomy wafers aren’t as popular as they probably should be, but ConvaTec has been making them for many years now. In this review, I’ll be looking at their SUR-FIT Natura moldable wafers.

I purchased all the products in this review.

Video Review

About ConvaTec SUR-FIT Natura

Product name: Natura Two-Piece Drainable Pouch; transparent w/ filter.
Manufacturer: ConvaTec
Product #: 411360
Size: 12″ pouch w/ 45mm flange.
Quantity per package: 10 per box
Product name: Natura Two-Piece Drainable Pouch; opaque w/ filter.
Manufacturer: ConvaTec
Product #: 411310
Size: 12″ pouch w/ 45mm flange
Quantity per package: 20 per box
Product name: SUR-FIT Natura Durahesive Skin Barrier with Mold-to-Fit opening and white acrylic tape border
Manufacturer: ConvaTec
Product #: 413418
Size: 45mm (1 3/4″) flange; 22-33mm (7/8″ – 1 1/4″) stoma opening
Quantity per package: 10 per box

The moldable wafers from ConvaTec are just one of many (and I mean MANY) ostomy products offered by ConvaTec. It’s a natural extension of their flat and convex products, and it really is a unique product among them.

This product comes in both flat and convex varieties, so all ostomates are covered. And because it’s part of the Natura line of products, it also has a mechanical coupling to attach the bag to the wafer.

The Natura line of products, including these moldable wafers, are ideal for colostomates, ileostomates, and urostomates; you can get bags with drainage spouts that are more appropriate for urostomates.

I will point out that this plastic coupling is not a “floating flange”, which I will explain a bit further in the review, but ConvaTec does offer an “accordion flange” (a.k.a. “floating flange”) and a low-pressure adapter for people who prefer that style.

Also of note is that these wafers come with a white tape border, which some people may not like (both the color and style).

While these wafers come in both a regular wear and extended wear adhesive (Stomahesive and Durahesive respectively), I’ve only used the Durahesive products; neither are free of animal ingredients, so keep that in mind if that’s something you try to avoid.

The packaging is pretty standard for an appliance. There is a stoma measuring guide included with the wafers, although this probably isn’t required since they are moldable. I do like that the wafers are in their own sealed packages, but this also adds bulk to them (not as easy to travel with).

Both the bags and wafers come with instructions, but the bags also come with filter stickers; neither come with disposable bags, which is a bit of an inconvenience.

What exactly is a moldable wafer?

That’s a question I asked myself when I first heard about these. Traditionally, you have two types of wafers: pre-cut and cut-to-fit. I’m a huge fan of cut-to-fit products, as they allow me to measure and cut the right size for my changing stoma. On the flip side, many ostomates may find pre-cut wafers work well if their stoma stays at a consistent size.

Moldable wafers are in-between those two: it allows you to “mold-to-fit” around your stoma without the need for cutting or measuring.

You can see a demo of how this works in the video review above.

The Wafer

I was really excited to try these out!

Because I tend to always measure and cut my wafers, I found that it takes more time than it should to change my appliance. Not only that, but it’s way easier to travel with a pre-cut or moldable wafer, since you don’t need to bring scissors, a stoma measuring guide, pen, etc.

The tape border on this product is made of a white fabric, which I’m not too keen about. Most ostomy appliances use a beige-toned fabric, which blends into my skin, but white stands out quite a bit no matter how damn white my skin already is!

Wearing the ConvaTec Natura opaque ostomy bag
Bright white might not be suited to everyone.

I do prefer tape borders on my wafers, so it’s nice to see on this appliance, but the thicker hydrocolloid center piece looks and feels less than ideal.

As you can see in the photo below, the transition between the hydrocolloid and tape border is not smooth, and it leaves a bump that’s also felt when wearing the appliance. Compared to the Hollister New Image line of products, which have seamless transitions, these could be improved upon.

ConvaTec Natura Moldable transition bump
You can clearly see the bump where the hydrocolloid center ends.

One thing I found odd is that the wafer seems disproportionately larger than the flange. Not sure if that’s because of the moldable technology or to give it better support, but it does make things seem a little off. At 32mm, my stoma felt a little cramped in the 45mm flange, but it still fit just fine.

Using the moldable part couldn’t be easier. ConvaTec has a clear, plastic release liner on the back that allows you to roll the center of the wafer to the size you need. Once that’s done, you simply remove the liner and apply the wafer to your skin. ConvaTec suggests you press the portion around your stoma down to get a better fit.

The beauty of this system is that it doesn’t matter what shape or size your stoma is because the moldable tech will accommodate it. Even better is that this wafer will swell quite a bit more than any other I’ve seen, which further helps to prevent leaks and to get a better fit.

ConvaTec Natura Moldable good fit around stoma
You can get a very good fit around the stoma with zero effort.

In theory, this product should help to eliminate the need for barrier rings, stoma paste, and other supplies needed to help prevent leaks.

In ConvaTec’s own studies, they’ve found that a significant number of ostomates who tried these moldable wafers experienced better skin health as a result. [SOURCE]

In practice, while I do find that it helps to prevent leaks from under my wafer, it did not improve the health of the skin around my stoma. In fact, my skin was more raw after several weeks of wear than it was before I started.

Disappointing to say the least.

The Pouch

The Natura pouches I used for this review seemed pretty standard, that is , until closer inspection.

Unlike other brands, who tend to use (cheap) fabric to cover the back and/or front of the pouch, ConvaTec uses a unique plastic “fabric” instead.

It’s slightly squishy to the touch, and a little more durable than most fabrics, but it has a few flaws that really bothered me.

First, this material stretched and tore quite easily for me, which means that the bag not only looked like hell after a few days, but the pouch outlet wouldn’t stay up after the fabric tore up.

ConvaTec Natura opaque fabric texture
The fabric isn’t made of cloth, but a spongy plastic material.
ConvaTec Natura opaque fabric tearing
The fabric would tear quite easily for me.

Secondly, the damn pouch stays wet forever after showers! I would have expected a plastic cover to dry pretty quick, but water seems to get trapped under the cover and it doesn’t properly evaporate from there.

I also find that the tape border looks and feels wet for longer than I’ve noticed on other appliances with tape borders.

The outlet is fairly easy to open and clean, and it doesn’t require any creasing like Hollister outlets do. This bag features a Velcro-like closure that rolls up and can be secured with a few gentle presses.

There’s an extra flap that acts as an additional “lock” for the closure. I’m honestly not sure if this extra flap has been added because the outlet isn’t secure enough on its own or simply just for some extra assurance.

Regardless of the reason, I found that flap a little awkward to use, especially when emptying the bag.

As I mentioned earlier, this appliance has a mechanical coupling to join the bag to the wafer. I found the coupling extremely difficult to snap together, and it required a lot of force to get it done – if I had just come out of surgery, this would NOT have been a pleasant experience.

ConvaTec does have another version of this wafer that has an “accordion flange”, which can make this much easier on the wearer, but it does seem to add more bulk to the system (I haven’t tried it yet, though).

I was extremely disappointed in the filters on these bags. They consistently leaked on me, which is something I’ve never experienced in any other product – ever.

ConvaTec Natura Moldable leak through filter
The filters consistently leak through my clothing, pouch covers, and ostomy wraps :(

This is a shame, as it means I’m either having to replace bags after only a day or I’m putting a sticker on it (defeating the purpose of having a filtered pouch).

If you plan on having a shower or getting wet while wearing these bags, you will have to put a filter sticker on them. This adds some inconvenience to daily wear, but it’s not uncommon to see this requirement in other appliances.

My Experience

Overall, I would say this is a fairly solid system. The convenience of using a moldable wafer is apparent, however, there is one significant deal-breaker that prevents me from using this appliance more often: adhesive residue.

Wafers stick, that’s what they’re supposed to do, but wafers should also come off cleanly. This wafer leaves so much residue around the tape border perimeter that it takes an incredible amount of effort to remove it.

ConvaTec Natura tape border residue
Adhesive residue was a big problem for me.

It also leaves quite a bit of residue under the wafer, which needs to be cleaned for me to even shave the area.

So while the moldable part might save me a few minutes, I have to waste so much time to remove it, negating the convenience factor.

Keep in mind that I do use adhesive remover products, so this is unacceptable to me. If I needed to do an emergency appliance change and had to battle this adhesive, I would imagine the situation would be far more stressful than it needs to be.

I still think there’s value in using moldable wafers, especially for people who struggle with leaks or who want to save money on extra supplies to manage leaks .

Conclusion

At the time of this writing (June 2016), a wafer costs approx CDN$86.09 per box of 10 and the bags go for approx. CDN$5.17 each. These are more expensive than many other ostomy systems, but if they save you from using barrier rings, then they’ll make up the difference.

ConvaTec will send samples, so try before you invest in these as they are sold in packages of 10 or 20 and it would be quite expensive to purchase them only for testing (like I did).

These products are also sold around the world.

Pros
  • Really convenient to use (no measuring, tracing, or cutting needed).
  • The outlet is easy to open and clean.
  • The outlet is secure and doesn’t leak.
  • The appliance is comfortable.
  • Can help to prevent leaks without the use of barrier rings.
  • Available in flat or convex; regular and extended wear.
Cons
  • Leaves a lot of adhesive residue.
  • Filter leaks.
  • Filter needs to be covered when getting appliance wet.
  • The bag is hard to attach to the flange.
  • Made with animal ingredients.
  • Pouch fabric tears easily.
  • Wafer doesn’t look very nice and had bad transitions.
Recommended for some people, but not all

While I see some tremendous value in using a moldable product, I don’t feel that this product is ideal for everyone.

There are several annoyances that add up to a less-than-ideal experience, but the time wasted removing this appliance really does make me second-guess wearing it again.

For more info, please visit ConvaTec at: www.convatec.com

Question: Have you used this product before? How was/is your experience?
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glenn.giroir
4 months ago
Reply to  VeganOstomy

@VeganOstomy
It seems to be both.  The adhesive tape around the wafer peels almost immediately, then the wafer itself starts to kind of become an oozy, sticky mess.  When I get out, I can stick everything back and it actually stays when it dries, but the wafer just turns into a mess after a few days.  After it melts and gets re-stuck a few times, it becomes very difficult to remove cleanly when it is time to change.  It comes off in pieces and some of the wafer stays attached.  I have to scrub way too much to get all the residue off.  I like the bags, but I’ve had NO problems like this with Hollister.  I’ve done hour-long soaks with Hollister and still get my normal 5 days wear (I could go longer, but my hair starts to grow in and gets itchy), and the wafer comes off so cleanly.  Hard to beat Hollister for me and what I like in a bag.    

raspout66
3 months ago
Reply to  glenn.giroir

Well, the 2 pieces moldable works extremely well for me. Average 7 days in fact with paste on the wafer before applying it. I buy the 13-22 mm and I don’t need to mould it since my stoma is 22 mm.
I hate their bag though and the price of the wafer which is ridiculously high. Also when changing wafer there’s a sticky residue which is hell to remove.
That’s why I’m in the process of experimenting with other makes. No way I’ll pay 170$ CA for  10 wafers anymore, without bags… 
I also realized that I don’t need a convex to get my wafer to stick, it’s more à matter of belt wearing or not.
The more experience I get with this and the more I believe wearing a belt makes all the difference between sticky and non sticky wafers.Never ban a wafer before trying to wear a belt with it if you don’t! 

glenn.giroir
4 months ago

I’ve tried both the two-piece and one piece moldable.  I like the concept, but the wafer does not last long for me.  After about two days, it is deteriorating.  I like to get at least 5 days out of a pouch.  And, the deal breaker for me is that the adhesive just dissolves in a hot tub.  At least that’s my experience.  I can’t even take a bath with this system.  My current Hollister system is impervious to water compared to this one.  Just my experience…

Judy
Judy
4 months ago

I actually am currently using this system, and find a low wear time. Maybe two days, more like one and a half. It used to be better. I am finding these products have so many quality control issues, Just today, the wafer actually pulled apart from the wall, and I had a mess! Manufacture problems. Also, sometimes the holes are not in the middle, and there was a recall recently because of this. I just sent convatec an EMAIL! I don’t really have a problem with snapping the bags on or taking the product off. I am shopping around again. The bag does leak, and OFTEN. The velcro is inferior, in my opinion, and is not all the way to the edge, which causes liquid stool to leak out the side. I find when I release the first velcro tab, there is liquid on the bag. Frequently. The filter ALWAYS leaks, so I don’t use those bags anymore. Also, the moldable concept seems easier, but it is not, for sure. I had problems with my holister leaking and a rash of unknown causes, which is why I switched. I have a convex problem, and use those plus a ring. Still searching. Thank you for you video reviews!

glenn.giroir
4 months ago
Reply to  Judy

@Judy
 
I second the comment on low wear time.  Same here.  

Melanie
2 years ago

I don’t use this moldable system but I have been using convatec for 18 years, here are a few tips.

I use a transparent bag and I put the bag and wafer together before applying the wafer to my skin. The pressure needed to connect the two can hurt a tender stomach and even squeeze out any paste you need or mess with an eiken seal. By connecting the two first I can also make sure all sides are completely attached preventing leaks.

After applying a new wafer to prevent that sticky residue outline around the wafer I use a long handled eye shadow brush (or just use a finger) to apply a very SMALL dusting of body powder around the edge of the wafer. Seams weird but I rarely get that residue anymore.

Water – I don’t have that netting on to top of my transparent bag but it is still on the underside. After a shower I use a towel and buff it thoroughly on all parts of the bag and it gets most of the moisture off. You can’t just wipe these bags you have to really rub the towel on them to get water out from between the two layers. Allot of times i also fold a paper towel and put it under the bag to absorb any water left. By the time I am finished getting ready, eaten breakfast, etc I can get rid of the paper towel (or cloth) and go about my day.

Jeff
2 years ago
Reply to  Melanie

I have a hi-output ileostomy. I’ve tried coloplast and Hollister previously. I use their hi capacity pouches which has a spout on the bottom, which solves all the problems you mentioned regarding the Velcro type closures.
Also, with a 4×4 skin barrier cut to shape I’ve gotten 6-7 days of wear usually, unless I’ve been extremely active, then it’s only 4-5 days.
For me this has been the best system yet.!
Like you said everyone is different and I’m glad you suggested everyone should try it and make their own decisions.

Willa Walker
3 years ago

I tried these. I was excited about the moldable tech. That was good. But when I tried to put the bag on, I couldn’t get it to snap on at all–. No matter how much I pushed on my stomach, I couldn’t get the bag to seal on to the wafer. Took the wafer off – totally useless system.