Surgery for muscle invasive bladder cancer

Surgery is one of the main treatments for muscle invasive bladder cancer. The surgeon usually removes all your bladder (cystectomy) and makes a new way for you to pass urine. Doctors call this urinary diversion. There are different types of urinary diversion. So, there are several choices of operation depending on which type of urinary diversion you have.

Most people with bladder cancer start by having a trans urethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT). This surgery diagnoses your cancer. And it finds out how far it has grown (the stage). You might have a second TURBT to make sure the surgeon has removed all the cancer.

Surgery to remove the bladder (cystectomy)

A cystectomy is an operation to remove all or part of your bladder. There are different types of operation.

Urostomy (ileal conduit)

A urostomy means that you have a bag outside your body to collect your urine. It is also called an ileal conduit.

Continent urinary diversion

Your surgeon makes an internal pouch to hold your urine, and a new opening (stoma) on your tummy. You pass a thin tube (catheter) into the stoma to pass urine and you don't have to wear a bag.

Bladder reconstruction (neobladder)

A bladder reconstruction (neobladder) is an operation to make a new bladder after the surgeon removes your bladder. After surgery you continue to pass urine through your urethra.

Recto sigmoid pouch

With a recto sigmoid pouch, the surgeon makes your back passage (rectum) into a pouch to collect urine like a bladder. Afterwards you pass urine out with your poo from your rectum. 

Preparing for surgery

It can be helpful to understand what the operation involves and how to manage afterwards.

Going into hospital

Find out what you need to take in, what to expect and how to make your time in hospital less stressful.

On the day

What to expect on the day of surgery, including about having an anaesthetic.

After bladder cancer surgery

Find out what to expect when you wake up from your operation, and what happens afterwards.

Passing urine after surgery

After surgery to have your bladder removed, you normally pass urine in a different way. How you do this depends on the surgery you have had.

Last reviewed: 
10 Nov 2022
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