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Options for bladder reconstruction during bladder removal surgery.
Bladder reconstruction is a critical part of the healing process and your return to daily life. We understand that you may feel frightened and overwhelmed about having your bladder surgically removed as part of your bladder cancer treatment plan. Because of this, our surgeons specialize in bladder reconstruction during your bladder removal surgery.
You’ll also have the support of our enterostomal nurses, who specialize in helping patients like you adjust to life with a reconstructed bladder.
Types of bladder reconstruction
If your bladder cancer requires bladder removal surgery, we’ll perform reconstructive bladder surgery at the same time of bladder removal to create a new pathway or new bladder to restore urinary function. This is done in a few different ways:
- Neobladder: This procedure uses a part of the small intestine to create a new bladder, which is connected to the ureters and urethra to allow urination. While the body's natural bladder works by expanding to hold urine and then contracting to pass urine, the neobladder is only able to expand. Over the course of several months after surgery, our enterostomal nurses will help you learn how to tighten your muscles to help pass urine from the new bladder.
- Conduit: This procedure uses a part of the small intestine to create a tube from the ureters (duct by which urine passes from the kidney to the bladder) to the abdomen. The urine flows through this new tube directly into a urine bag worn on the outside of the patient's body.
- Reservoir: This procedure uses a part of the small intestine to create a pouch inside the body that connects from the ureters to the area of the belly button or another part of the abdomen. The internal pouch collects the urine, and your will need to insert a catheter at skin level to drain the urine every four hours. This option is used only in select cases because patients must be vigilant in draining the urine regularly to avoid complications.
We will review your reconstruction options with you, and the risks and benefits of each to give you the best quality of life possible.