One of the concerns that ostomates face is whether they can get their appliance wet or not. For many of us, a shower doesn’t affect our wafers durability, nor does it cause any significant problems, but for those who go swimming or use hot tubs, the extended exposure to water can be a challenge. The product I’ll be reviewing today is called the Flange Seal Ring by OstomyEssentials, which will be based on samples I received. In essence, it’s a thin film which goes over your wafer in order to create a waterproof seal that helps in not only to keep water from eroding your wafers edges, but also to keep your wafer securely attached in the event of a leak or wafer adhesive failure. It’s designed to be used on just about any ostomy appliance brand or style. The Flange Seal Rings come in two sizes, small and medium. The small is meant to fit flanges that are 45-57mm and the medium fits floating flanges that are 45-70mm or standard flanges that are 57-70mm. Please note that “flange” in this case is the part that attaches to your pouch, not the entire wafer. You can usually use the terms interchangeably, but for clarification, I have to point out the differences. Not only is the opening for the flange larger in the medium ring, but it also extends further out compared to the small ring. Some flanges may require the product to be trimmed in order to accommodate belt loops or locks, but they fit most flanges without any modification as you can see in the photo’s below from various brands:
Ideally, you’ll want to use these rings on a two piece system, since they can be very easily applied onto the wafer before the pouch goes on, but they’ll work on one-piece systems with a bit of trimming (and maneuvering). I tested the medium size ring on the Coloplast Sensura Mio one-piece #10471 and had to trim the inner hole in order to get it to fit properly. Using the Coloplast Sensura Click Xpro wafer #10025 (two-piece), I was able to use the small size ring without having to modify it, but I did remove the belt tabs on the flange first. The Flange Seal Rings have two release layers for easy application. I like the fact that each release layer can be removed in halves, so you aren’t left fumbling with the exposed adhesive part while positioning the product correctly. I did notice that the medium size ring would overlapping my belly button, so I did trim it so water wouldn’t get trapped underneath (photos below). This caused a small part of my wafer to be exposed, but the seal still remained highly effective. With the small size ring, it didn’t interfere with my belly button. Depending on where your stoma is situated, or if you have fresh surgical scars, you may have to also trim the outer parts of the ring in order to get a custom fit. The film itself is very thin, but I did feel that it was on, which is not surprising considering the large area it covers. Not that it was uncomfortable, just slightly noticeable.
I was able to take three long, hot showers over the course of three full days on a single ring and it held up quite nicely. There was some very minor edge peeling by the third day, but not enough to compromise the seal. I did notice some skin irritation heading into the third day, but after discussing it with the manufacturer, it’s been acknowledged that this product isn’t meant to be used for extended-wear, but as needed. This isn’t a problem if you go for an occasional swim or shower every other day, but if you need to wear these daily, then the cost will add up. That said, if your skin is unaffected by extended-wear, then by all means wear it as long as you like! Like wafer adhesives, everyone’s mileage will vary when it comes to wear time. If you do plan on using it when required, you should be able to peel it off without affecting the wafer as long as you peel in from the center outwards (not from the outer edge) and do NOT use an adhesive remover. After removing the Flange Seal Ring my wafer as previously described, the wafer was in perfect condition without any peeling. I was quite impressed by this. If you use a wafer that has a tape border (like some Hollister or Cymed products), then I don’t know if you’re able to remove the Flange Seal Ring without compromising the tape border. I don’t have access to a swimming pool or hot tub (any offers?), but I’m confident that these Flange Seal Rings would hold up without any major issues, provided that you use them as directed.
At the time of this writing (May 2014), the Flange Seal Rings sell between CDN$15 and $22.50 depending on the size, and you get 10 rings per package. OstomyEssentials ships within Canada, but you may be able to find this product through other dealers who ship outside of Canada. OstomyEssentials offers samples if you’re unsure of which size will work best for you, so you have nothing to lose.
The Flange Seal Rings from OstomyEssentials offers both a water barrier and helps to secure your wafer. If you worry about water exposure, then I suggest giving these a try! You can find these rings, as well as other ostomy supplies at OstomyEssentials.ca Have you used these rings before? How did they work for you?
Updated: March 2015