I’ve used the Hollister New Image line (with CeraPlus) for over 2.5 weeks and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the results. I had requested samples at our local ostomy chapter “vendors day” after speaking with one of the Hollister reps. She mentioned that Hollister has put out a new product, which features “CeraPlus”, so I was intrigued at how it might benefit me.
About the Hollister CeraPlus Wafers
CeraPlus means that this wafer is “infused with ceramide, a naturally occurring lipid in the skin which protects against dryness”. That’s some pretty fancy stuff, and I’ve been told that it’s not manufactured using animal products. Skin dryness, when you have an ostomy, can make applying the wafer a challenge as the adhesive has no good foundation to stick to. Since I have to shave my abdomen, I’m no stranger to dryness, so I was hoping this product might help with that.
PLEASE NOTE: The following review is specifically for the Hollister #11203 wafer and #18183 pouch. These products are similar to other New Image products available from Hollister, but not identical.
You can see the condition of my skin in the before and after photos below. Perhaps 2.5 weeks isn’t long enough, but I didn’t notice any improvement in the dryness of my skin and it was still quite noticeable after shaving (with an electric razor). Overall, though, my skin was looking good.
These CeraPlus wafers come with a tape borders, and are available in a flat or convex style. The tape border is new to me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are two release liners on the product: one main liner, which has the measuring rings on it, and two white flaps, which you remove once the wafer has been secured to your skin.
If you recall, I’ve had challenges with my skin getting cut by the bottom part of the Coloplast Assura and Sensura wafers. I’ve had to resort to applying a tape to my skin first and then the wafer over top of that in an effort to reduce the friction. With these Hollister wafers, the tape border eliminated this extra step, and the edges were quite skin friendly. I also found the tape border to be quite comfortable, and it held on really well, even during showers. In fact, the adhesive worked so well, that I had to use both an adhesive remover spray and adhesive remover wipes to clean up any residue. This could be seen as both a pro and con, but it was gentle on the skin. I should add that this wafer did not need any special prep in order to stick REALLY well when applying it – no heat or extended time with my hand over it was necessary.
Hollister provides a stoma measuring guide, which helps you to find the exact size of your stoma so you can cut the right size in your wafer. Unfortunately, this measuring guide is made of paper, so it gets wet and ruined very quickly when it comes in contact with your stoma. Also unfortunate is that the wafer part that you cut is made of a hard plastic, so I’d often have very sharp edged as I cut the hole. Pre-fitting the wafer (before removing the liner), caused bleeding on several occasions. Nothing major, but it was something that shouldn’t happen.
My wear time for this product was 4-5 days. I didn’t notice any itching and the wafer erosion was pretty impressive – better than I had seen with any of the Coloplast wafers. The part that touches your stoma will swell and seal up the gap between the wafer and your stoma, which essentially protects your skin for any leaks. Regarding leaks, I had none, but I did experience minor irritation around the stoma if I consistently went for a 5 day wear time. Of course, I made no attempt to augment the wafer with additional rings, seals, powders or barriers (so I can get a more accurate assessment), so this was quite good and a step up from the 3 day wear I tend to get with Coloplast products. There were no problems along the wafers outer edge and the skin around the stoma looks healthy.
In regards to my skin, more specifically the hair on my skin, it needs to be shaved with each appliance change. At the 5 day mark, hair was coming through the tape border and had I gone past that, I’m sure the seal under the wafer would be compromised and potentially cause a leak (especially if you’ve got loose output). I have no doubt that women who use this product won’t run into this challenge, but it needs mentioning.
About the Hollister New Image Drainable Pouch
Leading into the pouch component of this review, I’d like to explain a little about Hollister’s “floating-flange”, which is a selling point on their New Image line. The coupling (flange) on this wafer “floats”, in the sense that you can slide your fingers underneath it to help secure the pouch.
This is a benefit for those who are just out of surgery and have a sore abdomen since you aren’t putting much pressure on the wafer in order to get the pouch on. The coupling snaps the pouch into place, much like a Tupperware container. I had concerns that this might cause the pouch to leak or come off since I’ve been used to the locking mechanism on the Coloplast products, but in the several weeks of testing this pouching system, I experienced no issues with the coupling. In fact, on several occasions I’d allow my pouch fill up past the half-way line to see if it would create a problem, fortunately (and my clothes thank me) everything stayed sealed.
There are belt tabs on the POUCH (not the wafer like some other brands), which can secure the pouch even further by using the Hollister Accessory Belt. This is optional, but it adds extra assurance.
If you are a fan of the Stealth Belt, then rotating this pouch is going to be a challenge out of the box. I couldn’t rotate the pouch in place; it had to be removed, rotated, then snapped back, but this opened up potentially messy opportunities. I have since discovered a trick that can remedy this problem.
For a two-piece, the pouch and wafer were relatively low-profile, especially when an ostomy wrap (like the Classic Wrap from OstomySecrets) is used.
The Hollister New Image pouch is your basic ostomy pouch. It has a cloth fabric which is below average in my opinion. The material breaks apart easily and I noticed a lot of “fluffing” (see the photo below) as I wore it for several days.
The pouch cloth also attracts water like a sponge. Getting either the pouch or tape border (also covered in fabric) wet was uncomfortable and difficult to dry without a hairdryer handy. While the pouch getting wet is annoying, I was also concerned about potential fungal problems if the tape border was often exposed to water (Update: After several years of wearing this appliance, I can report no fungal/bacterial problems). I can only suggest that if you’re using this wafer around the pool or if you take frequent showers, try not get it wet, by either using tape over it or a product like the Flange Seal Ring or by promptly drying it as best as you can.
Another huge, HUGE annoyance I found was that the outlet on the pouch would just dangle. There was nothing holding it up. I was able to easily correct this by using my Hollister Pouch Hack, but the solution really should have been built-in. Had I not modified my pouch, this could have been an endless source of frustration over the long-run.
I’m not a fan of drainable pouches with separate clips, and this Hollister New Image pouch features a “Lock N’ Roll” system, that works pretty well. I did find the “Velcro” (for lack of a better word, since it’s not like traditional Velcro) to be a bit of a challenge. I never really knew when it was fully locked and it takes some effort to lock it securely. I have joint pains in my legs and ankles due to Crohn’s disease, but had my wrist or hand joints been arthritic, it would have made closing this pouch a painful affair.
As you can see from the tip of the outlet, those tiny “flaps” made cleaning the outlet difficult and I often had to spend far more time than necessary to get under and around everything. Why Hollister designed it like that, I’ve yet to find out.
One last gripe that I had (I swear I’m trying not to nitpick), is that the included disposal bags are too small. Sure, they fit your soiled pouch, but if you like to hang a garbage bag under your stoma while doing an appliance change (a must if you’re stoma is active), you can’t with these bags. Just look at how small the opening of the bag is compared to the disposal bags included with the Coloplast Sensura Mio pouches:
But things weren’t always annoying, and the filter blew my mind! I’ve written several times about the need for a better filter on ostomy pouches. With my Coloplast pouches, I opt for the Osto EZ-Vent product so I could release trapped gas, but ideally, the filters should just work. Hollister uses what they call the AF300 filter.
Hollister claims that their AF300 allows gas, but not liquid, to pass through due to the special membrane they have covering the filter openings. They are so confident in the effectiveness of that membrane that say you don’t even need filter stickers when taking a shower as the water won’t penetrate the filter (too bad their pouch cloth wasn’t made of the same stuff!).
In the 2.5 weeks of using this pouch, I had not experienced ballooning once, and it was a joy to wake up to a pouch that wasn’t about to burst off my side! This is likely what helped to maintain the longer wear time as well. My output is thicker (think applesauce to thick oatmeal), so whether the effectiveness is true for those with liquid output isn’t something I’m able to say, but if you have a colostomy with dry stool or a thick output ileostomy, then I’m confident that you’ll experience similar success with the filter.
At the time of this writing (April 2017), the CeraPlus wafers #11203 sell for about CDN$38 for a pack of 5 flat wafers; Convex versions go for around CDN $74.
The New Image pouches #18183 sell for around CDN$52 for a pack of 10 and there are several options from clear to opaque, filtered to filterless, clip or Lock N’ Roll closure. Find one that works best for you.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the Hollister CeraPlus wafer and New Image pouching system.
There were some questionable design issues and some minor annoyances (which may not even bother you so much), but the strengths were very persuasive and this system has the potential to be a long-term solution for me. If Hollister makes some slight adjustments to the cloth and outlet, they could have a much better product on their hands. Considering that their motto is “Attention to Detail. Attention to Life“, I hope they can pay attention to the details that ostomates will notice.
The combination of a comfortable, flexible wafer and the highly effective filter makes this ostomy pouch system worth checking out. CeraPlus may not be available in your country yet (it is in Canada), so if you don’t find these, try the regular Hollister New Image extended wear wafers, as they function in the exact same way, minus the CeraPlus additive in the adhesive. Hollister is quite generous with their samples, so contact them for details.