Having been impressed with past ostomy appliances by B. Braun, I was excited to see what their 1-piece system offered!
I received samples in advance of the anticipated North American launch of this product through B. Braun, which makes me extra excited to be bringing you this review.
About the Flexima 1-Piece
The specific appliance I’m reviewing here:
Flexima is B. Braun’s flagship ostomy appliance in many regards. It’s a line that is continually improved upon, and this iteration is the 2017/2018 version.
B. Braun is one of the largest manufacturers of ostomy supplies in the world, although their presence in North America is still quite new.
While Flexima is available worldwide, it also goes under the name Softima in countries such as the UK, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherland. Both the Softima and Flexima version of this appliance is identical, so this review applies to both.
I’ve confirmed with B. Braun that the 1pc Flexima used in this review is free of animal-based ingredients, which makes it suitable for vegans. Other styles of Flexima may not be, so ask if that’s a concern.
The Flexima 1pc does come in sizes ranging from Mini (260ml) to Midi (580ml) to the Maxi (710ml) size I’m reviewing here. B. Braun also offers closed, high-output, and urostomy versions of this appliance (none of which I’ve tried).
Along with the various styles, Flexima also comes in a fully opaque, transparent, and “split cover” version (which has an inspection window). This review is based on the split cover version I’ve been wearing.
Included in the box, you’ll get filter stickers and instructions, but no stoma measuring guide or disposal bags (just like with the Flexima 3S).
Like most one-piece appliances, the Flexima 1pc is very thin, which is great for concealment and comfort.
One word: Wow.
I could immediately tell that the cloth fabric used for this appliance is better quality than most other pouches you’ll find today.
The thickness of the fabric cover is “just right” and it feels premium. Comparatively, the fabric is similar to what you’d find on Hollister pouches but thicker and more durable.
It’s got a light texture and the traditional beige coloring. The texture differs considerably from the smooth fabric you find on Coloplast Sensura Mio products, or the almost plastic, stretchy fabric you’ll find on some ConvaTec pouches.
The appliance that I’ve used has a “split window” or inspection window on the front, which I believe every 1pc appliance should have as it makes aligning your wafer so much easier.
I’ve been a fan of B. Braun filters since I first started using their Flexima 3S a few years ago.
On this Flexima 1pc, the filter is found at the top and you can access it under the split cover (for when you need to apply a filter sticker on it).
While I find that B. Braun filters don’t clog as fast as others, which means they do help prevent ballooning, you do have to cover the filter before hopping into a shower or going for a swim. This is something you’ll need to do with most filtered pouches, although some brands (i.e. Hollister) don’t need this.
The length of the outlet on this Flexima drainable pouch is longer than what you’ll see in many other appliances. I happen to believe that this is a good thing as it allows for more control when emptying your appliance.
Speaking of emptying your appliance, the closure at the end of the outlet features what I call a “double hook system”, which uses two strips of plastic hooks instead of one strip of hooks and one strip of loops as you’d find on Velcro.
The closure is easy to open, even with one hand, and it’s what I’d consider a “wide” mouth – certainly wider than what you’ll find on the Hollister New Image bags.
To secure the outlet, you roll it back several times until the strip of plastic hooks meet each other. After that, it’s a simple squeeze to lock them in place.
One thing you’ll notice is that the outlet doesn’t fold under the fabric of the cloth cover, so you’ll catch a peek at it. Despite that, it still looks fine and works just the same.
The outlet itself is opaque on the back and transparent on the front. The transparent front is a double-edged sword: it can be helpful when cleaning the appliance, but at the same time, you’ll be able to see your output even when the outlet is rolled up.
The shape resembles a flower (and not round or square), this is done to help contour the wafer to various body shapes. I can say that the shape makes this wafer feel smaller (which is a good thing).
You can see in the above photo, the Flexima 1pc allows for a larger stoma size, but its wafer is smaller. This can have something to do with the shape, but the wafer itself does make good use of that surface area.
On the back is a single, plastic release liner that when removed exposes the full adhesive of the wafer. This adhesive bonds well to my skin and leaves no residue when I go to remove it (although I will use an adhesive remover to help get me started).
The release liner does have a printed cutting guide, but the starter hole doesn’t seem to be aligned in the center, which looks awkward. This appears completely by design and doesn’t cause problems by following it.
While I’m not a big user of one-piece appliances, I enjoyed wearing this Flexima pouch.
My wear time averaged three to four days, and the wafer would show minimal erosion, which is great to see. I can also report that I had no major leaks in the several weeks of using this appliance, and my skin looked good throughout.
The cloth fabric does a great job during showers and it only got slightly wet after having one. It doesn’t soak up water like some cloth covers do, and any moisture that remains can be easily patted dry with a towel.
My only major gripe is that I would experience edge peeling of the wafer, which isn’t unusual for most hydrocolloid products I’ve worn, but it is worth mentioning. That said, the edge peeling does not compromise the appliance and I’ve had no trouble, even after showers.
This edge peeling is mostly cosmetic, unlike edge wrinkling, which often happens with wafers that use hydrocolloid.
Another very minor annoyance is that because of the way the outlet is designed, I feel that it takes more effort to clean vs something like a Coloplast Sensura Mio, but it is easier than most others.
At the time of this writing (Dec 2017), the B. Braun Flexima 1pc is available worldwide, including countries like France, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Czech rep, Slovakia, Poland, Japan, Australia, Turkey, Argentina, Chile, Malaysia. B. Braun plans to launch this appliance in North America sometime in early 2018.
I won’t know what Canadian or US pricing will be until they are available here, but looking at currently available products by B. Braun, I’m going to assume they will be priced similar or slightly less than 1pc appliances from Coloplast or Hollister.
Samples will likely be available when the products are ready to be sold, however, if you live in a country where Softima/Flexima is already available, contact B. Braun to see if you can get free samples.
The Flexima by B. Braun is a solid 1-piece appliance.
Everything from the wafer design to the cloth material used illustrate that a tremendous amount of work went into getting this product to where it is.
While I don’t tend to wear 1-piece appliances, I can recommend this one to just about any ostomate out there.