Bladder reconstruction can be performed during certain types of bladder cancer surgery, such as a radical cystectomy, in which the entire bladder is removed. The goal of bladder reconstruction is to create a new place for the body to store urine, along with a new way for urine to pass through and leave the body.
Some types of bladder reconstruction surgery include:
- Incontinent urinary diversion (urostomy) – Using a short segment of a patient’s small intestine, a surgeon creates a passageway between the ureters (the tubes that carry urine away from the kidneys) and a small opening in the abdomen (stoma) to divert the flow of urine so that it empties into a pouch attached to the outside of the body.
- Continent cutaneous urinary diversion – Using a small section of a patient’s stomach or intestine, a surgeon creates an internal reservoir for the storage of urine. The patient can periodically empty the reservoir by inserting a thin plastic tube into a stoma created during bladder reconstruction surgery.
- Bladder substitute (neobladder) – If a patient’s urethra is not removed during bladder cancer surgery, a surgeon may use a small piece of the patient’s intestine to create an internal sac to hold urine. The new sac is attached directly to the ureters and the urethra, allowing the patient to pass urine in the same way he or she did prior to surgery.
The renowned team in the Genitourinary Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center continues to investigate new and better ways to perform bladder reconstruction surgery. For instance, as we learn more about the growth of bladder tissue, we believe it may be possible to one day create this type of tissue in a lab so that it can be used for bladder construction in place of a patient’s stomach or intestine tissue. Moffitt is also well known for having a robust portfolio of clinical trials through which our patients have opportunities to benefit from groundbreaking bladder cancer treatment and reconstructive options before those promising new techniques are made available in other settings. This is just one way that we are continually improving our patient outcomes and quality of life.
Medically Reviewed by Scott Gilbert, MD, Department of Genitourinary Oncology.
If you’d like to learn more about bladder reconstruction procedures that can be performed alongside bladder cancer surgery, the experts at Moffitt can answer your questions and recommend an individualized treatment plan for you. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. Referrals are not required to consult with our experienced oncologists.