I previously reviewed a two-piece ostomy appliance by Cymed in which I gave it a less than stellar rating. Since then you guys have been asking me to review the one-piece, so here it is!
Cymed was good enough to send me the samples I used in this review. To be honest, I would have purchased these anyway to try, but my supplier didn’t have the specific one’s that I felt would work best for me.
About the Cymed 2pc Drainable System
Products I’ve used for this review:
Manufactured by a small company out of Sacramento, California, this one-piece features the same MicroSkin wafer as the two-piece I reviewed.
As with their two-piece system, Cymed offers this one-piece in a variety of options: with and without filters; with thin or thick “washers” (the part that goes around your stoma); a clip closure, drainable spout for urostomates, or their “Press ‘N Seal” option (which is similar to Velcro); cut-to-fit or pre-cut openings; as well as clear and opaque bags.
I’m glad that they offer so many options, as it’s often hard to find a single appliance that works perfectly for everyone.
One point I’d like to make about the “washers” is that most urostomates and ileostomates should opt for the thick washer, while colostomates should go with the thin one. The thicker washers help to keep liquid output off your skin, but I did find that both work well for me.
The washers swell up nicely and hug the stoma better than most other brands; I found the wafer holds up at least 3-4 days, although I could probably go longer if the hair on my abdomen didn’t grow so fast.
I will note that while convex wafers are not listed in their product catalogue, Cymed claims that convexity isn’t needed with their products:
I’m not sure I believe that, as convex wafers apply pressure around to the skin to help push out a flush or slightly retracted stoma. If you’ve used a convex product in the past and have switched to Cymed wafers without trouble, please let me know in the comment section.
Cymed’s MicroSkin wafer is unlike anything else that most ostomates are used to seeing, and it’s Cymed’s claim to fame for several good reasons.
MicoSkin is essentially a clear, flexible film. If you’ve ever used 3M Tegaderm or Opsite Flexifix, then you’ll already know what MicroSkin looks and feels like.
There are several advantages that MicroSkin has over traditional wafers:
- It’s much thinner.
- It’s more flexible, which helps to conform to various stomach shapes and sizes.
- It’s more comfortable than most wafers.
- It doesn’t get wet (or stay wet).
- It won’t cut your skin like some semi-rigid wafers can.
So what do you lose? Not much, but MicoSkin is more difficult to apply than other wafers. Some people may find this extremely frustrating, while others may find a technique that works for them.
Applying this one-piece is similar to applying the Cymed two-piece, minus having to worry about the adhesive coupling.
As with the two-piece MicroSkin wafer, there are no lines on the back of the one to help with measuring and cutting the hole for your stoma. There is a cutting guide included in the package, but it would nice to be able to cut a specific size without the need for the separate paper guide.
Before using this appliance, there are a series of paper liners that need to be removed first to expose the adhesive on the back of the MicroSkin wafer. You then carefully apply it to your skin while making sure that there are no wrinkles, which is often easier said than done!
While I did not manage to get a perfectly smooth application every time I changed my appliance, I found that as long as the seal around my stoma was good the rest was just a matter of aesthetics.
Because the MicroSkin wafer has no fabric on it, it dries very quickly after getting out of the shower and it also holds up really well after being exposed to water (no peeling). It’s no wonder that ostomates who do water activities like this system.
Saying this appliance is comfortable to wear wouldn’t do it any justice – it’s really comfortable – and thin!! With an empty pouch, this appliance is only a few millimeters thick, but it does expand just like any other appliance.
That said, this product would be ideal for people who need to bend and twist a lot since the MicroSkin moves with them.
Most of the things I don’t like about this appliance come from the pouch. That’s not to say that it’s a terrible pouch, or that it’s not functional, but there are a few things that bother me about it.
For starters, Cymed uses a thin, cheap fabric on their opaque pouches. While I never thought that pouch fabric could get worse than what Hollister uses on their Premier one-piece or New Image bags, they certainly do get worse with these bags.
Not only is the fabric nearly see-through, but it also doesn’t hold up well with use, fraying and falling apart after just a few days.
And unlike the MicroSkin wafers, which dry quickly, the fabric absorbs water and takes some time to dry.
There’s an inspection window on the opaque bags, which allows you to inspect your stoma and make sure that you’ve applied the wafer correctly. Kudos to Cymed for that!
The filters, while they’ve never leaked on me like ConvaTec Natura bags have, weren’t as effective as I’d been hoping.
I would get about one or two days before balloning became an issue. Because this is a one-piece system, you can’t “burp” this bag when it gets full of gas.
The closure on the bottom of the bag is good, but not great. It uses a system very similar to Velcro, but unique in a few ways:
- There is no “hook and fuzz” system, as you would find on the Coloplast line of drainable bags.
- There is no fabric on the tail-end, so it’s easy to clean.
Upon close inspection, the closure looks most similar to the Hollister New Image bags – tiny dots that interlock within each other.
The fasteners are wider than Hollister’s, which make them a little easier to secure with gentle pressure. The tail of the bag also rolls up and is secured by another set of these fasteners a few inches from the bottom of the bag.
The outlet’s tail is transparent and can be tucked under the fabric of the opaque bags. Unfortunately, this isn’t good enough to prevent the world from seeing what’s in your bag despite being tucked in. This isn’t normally a problem with other brands like
This isn’t normally a problem with other brands like Coloplast’s Sensura Mio, but the way that the Cymed outlet closes leaves a lot of your output exposed.
To add insult to injury, as the cheap pouch fabric stretches and/or falls apart, it can’t keep the outlet tucked in anymore so it just dangles.
Now, while having a transparent outlet makes it easier to clean when you’re emptying it, this problem forces me to wear pouch covers while wearing this bag.
And speaking of cleaning the outlet, like the two-piece, I found the outlet to be awkward to keep open and wipe clean because one side uses thin plastic while the other side is stiffer.
Compared to the Two-Piece
While there are similarities between the one and two-piece systems, this one-piece performed much better for me.
I experienced no leaks of any kind during the several weeks I was testing these bags, and they are easier to put on because there’s no adhesive coupling to worry about.
Curiously, I still experienced some irritation were the “washer” meets the MicroSkin, although my skin overall really likes this appliance.
At the time of this writing, the Cymed 1pc drainable bags retails for approx. CDN$110 – $130 for a box of 10. This is about double the price of other one-piece systems, but it’s possible that prices in the US are cheaper than they are in Canada.
Cymed does offer free samples, which I would recommend to anyone before buying a box of these.
Unfortunately, it looks like these products are only sold in North America, which I’m not surprised about considering the high costs.
This one-piece appliance is definitely a step up from the two-piece. While cost may be a factor for some, the comfort and long wear times may be worth it for people who are patient enough to apply the MicroSkin wafer.
If you’re looking for an appliance that effectively hides the contents of your bag, you’ll likely be quite disappointed with this one.
Swimmers and other active ostomates may want to give these a try if their current appliance restricts their range of motion.