Our professionally trained doctors at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital are always searching for new surgical techniques to make sure that everyday life after a procedure is exactly as before it.
Due to bladder cancer, trauma, or other diseases, a patient’s bladder could be removed. If patients do not wish to use the conventional method of external bags, they may opt for neobladder surgery.
The bladder is the organ connected to the kidneys in which urine is collected. It is a very important organ that, unfortunately, can sometimes get so severely damaged that it needs to be removed. If this happens, people usually use an external bag to hold their urine. Besides not being aesthetically pleasing, the patient will lose his continence, which means he won’t be able to hold in his urine.
Neobladder surgery is a procedure in which a part of the intestine will be transformed into a bladder, to help the patient regain his former life.
The patient is put under general anesthesia. After this, the doctor makes an incision on the abdomen. A part of the intestine or the colon will be separated. The intestines will be connected back together to continue functioning normally. The severed part will then be reshaped to form a new bladder. It will be connected to the ureters and the urethra so it will resemble the replaced organ. After positioning it correctly, the surgeon ends the procedure and stitches the incision site.
These are the benefits of this procedure:
- Day-to-day comfort will be significantly higher
- The patient’s state of mind will be more positive
- The patient will have greater mobility in his everyday activities
- The patient will not have to use any external devices to control his urine
This is a very complicated procedure and its recovery period is a difficult one. After the surgery, the patient will have to stay for a relatively long time in the hospital, between 2-3 weeks, for his condition to be monitored closely. The patient will have to use a catheter in his new bladder for about 10 days after the procedure. Because the new organ and the muscles surrounding it have to strengthen over time, it may take months, even more than a year, to regain full continence. After fully healing, the patient will hardly notice any difference between his new bladder and the old one.
As this is a complicated procedure, there are quite a few risks. First of all, the patient can get an infection and even suffer from both external and internal bleeding. Blood clots can be formed around the area of the surgery. Because pieces of the intestine or colon were used, the patient may be at an increased risk of bowel cancer. Urine leaks and incontinence are common complications of this surgery.