– Spiral Strengthened Adhesive
– Skin Friendly
– The Filter
– Patented Security Lock Ring
Coloplast Assura Convexity Summary
First of all before I start this review you will have noticed that I’ve also dubbed it a personal appraisal. That’s because I like to try and keep all information on Ostomyland as unbiased as possible and 100% honest. I don’t feature every company or every product, it’s just impossible for me to do so with the resources I have; be it time, finance, health etc. All reviews on this site are offered as an example of what’s available in the marketplace and not to be taken as me saying it’s the absolute best product in the whole wide world ever. When it comes to ostomy product wear, every person is different. What I love, you may hate. What you love, I may have big problems with.
So in the name of 100% honest I need to let you, the readers, know that I’ve been a fan of many of Coloplast’s products for at least a decade now, and I’ve been using their Assura range for about that long too. Therefore this is more of a personal appraisal and commentary on convexity with the Assura than a first time-user evaluation with my previous reviews.
I have used a standard 2 piece Assura set for almost ten years until six months ago when it became necessary for me to switch to a convexity product after my stoma started pulling in, leaving me with a retracted stoma located at the bottom of a belly dip. It was proving a nightmare to seal reliably with a standard flat back plate/flange and the leakage was starting to affect my skin.
After a session with my stoma nurse to see if she felt I was suitable for convexity, I was pleased to not only find out that I was, but also that Coloplast still had me covered with their Assura range as I found it was (and still is) available in a shallow fixed convexity 2 piece model too, as well as many over variants. Hurray!
Now, in fairness to Coloplast I must state that the Assura brand is not their headline product anymore. It’s been succeeded by the SenSura range. I may well try the SenSura eventually, as I’m sure the Assura will be discontinued in the future, but at the moment everything is working very well for me so, and I’ve always been a firm believer in the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra when it comes stoma care products.
The Assura Convexity ostomy appliance is only a marginally different flange to the standard Assura. In fact, as far as I can see it’s one and only difference is the fixed pre-installation of the convexity ring into the flange. This means you do not need to buy separate convexity inserts to clip into a flat flange, which in turn means they come with the curved step in the flange. It is not possible to remove the insert to make a flat flange, so if you need one of those then you’d need to order yourself a normal non-convexity product.
Assura 2piece Family – Product shot.Note the white spiral running through the flange adhesive layer.
All the Assura flanges, including the convexity models, are constructed from two different adhesive hydrocolloid layers which are rolled together to create a stronger, more secure flange adhesive while not compromising the necessary flexibility of it so that it can follow the curves of the belly.
If you look on the adhesive side of the flange you will be able to see this unique construction with your own eyes as it leaves a visible white spiralling line travelling from the outside edge to the centre.
For me personally, I found the strength of the Assura to be exemplary. The fact that the flange had the spiral construction helped reduce any pancaking problems I encountered as it meant the stool had to work that bit harder to escape under the flange by pushing its way out. Although the product
moulded very well to my skin and body (scars, creases etc.) once it was in place and had an half an hour to settle down it seemed to become far stronger than its thickness would suggest at first sight.
The product was pretty skin friendly for me. Regular readers of this site will know that I’ve struggled with skin problems for many years due to razor rash – until I discovered the Trio Niltac and Silesse group of products, now produced by ConvaTec – my belly never got used to being shaved and the only skin care products that eased it were those. The Assura itself was not cause this skin problem at all, and it didn’t make it worse, in fact it did help it a little bit as once I switched to the Assura ten years ago it dramatically reduced the redness, and eliminated the rash weeping, but it didn’t heal it completely. Thanks to the Assura stopping the rash weeping it meant that the number of times I had to change the flange due to it starting to lift from the skin was reduced which in-turn helped limit the stress to the skin caused by removing flanges (and this is the reason why I cannot wear one piece products – my skin cannot stand the twice a day changes).
A clearer picture of the Assura’s spiral strengthened adhesive flange (flat back).
The Assura flange strength also comes in handy for night time wear, when you may be tossing and turning in the night and potentially stretching your belly turning over. In ten years of using the Assura I can count my night time leaks on one hand, however do bear in mind I have an output that usually ranges from formed to cake mix consistency.
There is one issue with the Assura flange though – at least for me – and that’s whilst the flange does give secure adhesion to the skin for 3-4 days for me, I find that when the adhesion does start to degrade it happens quickly. You could go out in the morning thinking your pouch is secure for the day, and when you get home you see a large portion of it has started to lift off. Therefore I limit my Assura two piece flange wear time to three days, and no more, regardless of how well the flange may be looking at the time.
For those folks who like, or need, to wear a belt with their convexity products then the Assura has you covered with belt loops built into the pouch fitting ring on the flange.
On to the pouches themselves, I’ve found them to be very well thought out. The shaping of the pouch is well done. The bottom corner is shaped so that it fits into the hip and groin area of the colostomate comfortably which minimises opportunities for the pouch to rub.
The skin-contact side of the pouch is covered in a nice soft material which is skin friendly. I’ve never had any sweat related skin-contact issues with the Coloplast Assura 2piece pouches, and it’s a quite pouch too whilst wearing it.
There is a filter built into the closed pouch variants of the Assura 2piece, and this is curved and fitted into the upper left corner of the pouch as you look at the front of it. It’s positioned well away from the stoma to reduce chances of the filter clogging up, and the filter itself is covered in a semi-permeable membrane which stops moisture getting in, and still lets the air get out whilst eliminating odour.
I certainly cannot say the filter has never ballooned on me, because it has, however it’s always been at times when my output has been like a thick cake mix, so if stool covered over the filter it would stick like glue over the actual hole leading to the filter – like sticking a bit of putty over a burst pipe – rather than clogging up the actual filter itself. But, again, as with overnight leakage I could count on one hand the number of times it’s ballooned on me this year, and most of those times it was a good time to be changing the pouch anyways as it was filling up.
There is one feature of Coloplast pouches which I absolutely love, although it is not unique to their convexity products, as most of Coloplast’s pouch ranges offer this variant: it’s the patented security locking ring system for their 2pc pouches. With this system there is no mistaking whether your pouch is securely fitted or not, and it is so simple to use. You can apply the pouch to the flange with very little difficulty or pressure required. And then you just press the tabs of the pouch’s locking ring together, you’ll hear an audible click, and with that you know that your pouch is securely fitted in place and will not be coming off until you are removing it to change it. You can tug it as hard as you like and it will not separate from the flange. Don’t tug too hard though as you could rip the flange off your skin! 🙂
For me the Assura has offered exemplary 2 piece adhesion, both day and night, with a well-designed, comfortable pouch with a robust filter system and with the security ring version you have an audible confirmation of your pouch being properly and securely attached. The convexity step has resolved most of my stoma-structure issues for the time being, without interfering with the flange’s spiral strengthened adhesion, although I expect my stoma problems will worsen over time and I’ll need to review my product again then. When that does happen I will more than likely try the Coloplast Assura, SenSura or whatever Coloplast’s current convexity range may be first.
The Coloplast Assura is available as both one piece and two piece versions, with options of open, close or drainable pouches. Fixed convexity is available in the two piece versions only.
– Spiral strengthened adhesive
– Well positioned filter
– Comfortable, quiet pouch
– When the flange adhesive gives up, it goes quickly. Better to change it sooner rather than later
– Whilst very secure, the plastic click lock system could look bulky under very tight fitting clothes
Photographs and logos on this page are provided by, and copyrighted to Coloplast UK, and are used with their kind permission.
Jason D. has been a colostomate since 1997 and founded Ostomyland in 1998 after being frustrated at the lack of information he could find out about the procedure before surgery. He lives in the UK where he has a love of Westie’s and a is a huge fan of the Broadway musical Avenue Q (in which his favourite character is Trekkie Monster). You can find Ostomyland on the Google+, Facebook and Twitter social networks.
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