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General Information

DEFINITION--Removal of the urinary bladder and adjacent tissues and organs, and diversion of the urinary stream. This may involve an artificial opening, which is called an "ostomy" or "stoma."


  • Males: Bladder; prostate; urethra; seminal vesicles; small intestine.
  • Females: Urinary bladder; urethra; ureters; cervix; vagina; small intestine.

REASONS FOR SURGERY--Cancer of the bladder.


  • Poor nutrition.
  • Repeated surgeries on the bladder.

What To Expect

WHO OPERATES--Urologist.



  • Before surgery: Blood and urine studies; x-rays of kidneys and chest.
  • During surgery: Cystoscopy (See Glossary).

ANESTHESIA--General anesthesia by injection and inhalation with an airway tube placed in the windpipe.


  • An incision is made in the abdomen. The muscles are separated and the abdominal cavity is entered.
  • The blood supply and the ureters are cut and tied.
  • The bladder and adjacent tissues and organs are cut free and removed.
  • The ureters are diverted through an intestinal pouch to an opening made in the skin (the stoma).
  • The muscles are replaced and sewn together with sutures. The skin is closed with sutures or clips, which usually can be removed about 1 week after surgery.


  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Incisional hernia or infection.
  • Impotence in males.
  • Recurring urinary tract infections.
  • Obstruction of the ureter.


PROBABLE OUTCOME--Expect complete healing of surgical wounds. You will need to wear an external pouch to collect urine. The stoma will heal and shrink to its permanent size in 2 to 4 months after surgery. Allow about 6 weeks for recovery from surgery.

Postoperative Care

† Move and elevate legs often while resting in bed to decrease the likelihood of deep--

    vein blood clots.

  • An enterostomy specialist (See Glossary) will help you and your family learn to cope with new urination habits. > Dry the area around the stoma by patting, not rubbing. Apply gauze soaked with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water over the stoma to keep it clean.

† You may use non--prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen, for minor pain.

† To help recovery and aid your well--

    being, resume daily activities, including work, as soon as possible.

  • Avoid vigorous exercise for 6 weeks after surgery. Avoid heavy lifting indefinitely. > Resume driving 3 weeks after returning home.

DIET--Clear liquid diet until the gastrointestinal tract functions again. Then eat a well--balanced diet to promote healing.

Call Your Doctor If

† Pain, swelling, redness, drainage or bleeding increases in the surgical area.

  • You develop signs of infection: headache, muscle aches, dizziness or a general ill feeling and fever.
  • You experience nausea, vomiting, constipation or abdominal swelling.
  • You have pain or difficulty with urination.
  • You wish to consider penile implant surgery (if impotent).
  • New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.
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