Surgery Options

We provide advanced bladder cancer surgery care close to home

If you have bladder cancer, the doctor will discuss treatment options and create a plan for your care. For most patients, surgery is the standard treatment for bladder cancer.

We perform a full range of bladder cancer surgeries. Our experience in robotic bladder cancer surgery is unmatched.

What type of bladder cancer surgery do I need?

The type of bladder cancer surgery you need depends on many factors, including whether the cancer is located only on the bladder’s surface layers (superficial) or has invaded the bladder muscle (invasive).

Most patients -- 60 to 70 percent -- have superficial bladder cancer. If you have superficial bladder cancer, we can surgically remove just the bladder tumor and leave the rest of the bladder intact.

However, if the cancer has invaded the muscle of your bladder, then we’ll need to surgically remove the bladder. Some patients may undergo partial bladder removal, but these cases are rare.

What bladder cancer surgery options are available?

Our team of specialists offers a wide range of bladder cancer surgeries to provide the care you need.

  • Robotic bladder cancer surgery

    We can use either traditional open surgery or robotic bladder surgery. Henry Ford is one of a few centers in the country to regularly provide advanced bladder cancer surgery. We’ve performed minimally invasive robot-assisted bladder surgeries longer and have logged more experience than any other center in the country.

    Robotic bladder cancer surgery allows more precise surgical motion than traditional surgery. This is especially important in bladder cancer surgeries. Bladder removal requires complex motions to avoid nerve damage. Reconstruction of urinary function involves delicate sewing of the new pathway or new bladder. Robotic surgery for men with bladder cancer, such as robotic prostate cancer surgery, helps spare nerves to preserve sexual function.

    For all patients, robotic surgery means:

    • Decreased blood loss
    • Fewer overall complications
    • Improved bowel function after surgery
    • Less pain and less need for pain medication
    • Shortened hospital stays
    • Smaller incisions, less scarring, and faster healing

    As part of our dedication to robotic bladder cancer surgery, we work with the Urology and Nephrology Center in Mansoura, Egypt. The city has one of the world’s largest populations of bladder cancer because of the area’s water parasites. Through this partnership of education, training, and research, we will continue to advance robotic bladder cancer surgery.

  • Cystectomy

    If you have invasive bladder cancer, we have to remove some of the tissue around the cancerous cells. This procedure is a cystectomy. It helps us ensure that we remove all of the cancer.

    For men with bladder cancer, we remove the following during a cystectomy:

    • Bladder
    • Prostate
    • Lymph nodes

    For women with bladder cancer, we remove the following during a cystectomy:

    • Bladder
    • Uterus
    • Part of the vaginal wall (in some cases)

    Partial cystectomy

    Some patients may be able to have a partial cystectomy. Patients may be good candidates for this procedure if their bladder cancer is confined to a specific area of the bladder, rather than if it has spread. You and your doctor will discuss whether you’re a good candidate for this procedure.

    One of the benefits of a partial cystectomy is that we don’t have to use part of the small intestine to substitute for the bladder after surgery (see below). This means partial cystectomy patients have a reduced risk of bowel complications after surgery as compared to patients who have total cystectomies.

  • Bladder reconstruction

    If your bladder cancer requires bladder removal surgery, we’ll perform reconstructive bladder surgery at the same time. We’ll create a new pathway or new bladder to restore urinary function.

    We can do this in a few different ways:

    • Neobladder: This procedure uses a part of your small intestine to create a new bladder. We connect the new bladder to the ureters and urethra to allow normal urination. Your body’s natural bladder works by expanding to hold urine and then contracting to pass urine. However, the neobladder is only able to expand. Over the course of several months after surgery, you’ll learn how to tighten your muscles to help pass urine from your new bladder. Creating a neobladder is complex and isn’t possible for every patient. If you’ve had your urinary sphincter muscle removed, cancer at the level of the urethra, radiation therapy to your pelvic area, or bowel problems, you won’t be able to have a neobladder procedure.
    • Conduit: In this procedure, we use a part of your small intestine to create a tube from the ureters to the abdomen. The urine flows through this new tube directly into a urine bag worn on the outside of your body.
    • Reservoir: This procedure uses a part of your small intestine to create a pouch inside your body. The pouch connects from the ureters to the belly button area or another part of the abdomen. The internal pouch collects urine, and you’ll need to insert a catheter at skin level to drain the urine every four hours. We use this option only in select cases, because you’ll need to be vigilant in draining the urine regularly. If you don’t, the pouch could overfill and burst.
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