Urostomy (ileal conduit)

After you have surgery to remove your bladder you need another way of collecting your urine. There are different ways of doing this. The most common is to have a urostomy. This means having a bag outside your body to collect your urine.

The surgeon creates a new opening (stoma) for your urine to pass through. This can also be called an ileal conduit.

What happens

You have this operation while you’re asleep so you have a general anaesthetic. The operation takes between 2 and 6 hours.

The urologist removes a small piece of your small bowel (ileum). They join the cut ends of the ileum back together.

The surgeon then uses this piece of ileum to form the urostomy. They sew the tubes that carry urine from your kidneys (the ureters) into one end of this piece of ileum.

Next, the surgeon cuts a small hole in the surface of your tummy (abdomen). They then bring the other open end of the piece of ileum out through this hole.

This makes a stoma. The stoma is usually put to the right of your tummy button (navel).

Diagram showing how a urostomy is made (ileal-conduit)

After the operation, your urine will run down the ureters, through the piece of ileum and out through the stoma. The piece of ileum is like a channel (conduit). So this operation is also called an ileal conduit.

After your urostomy

When you wake up from surgery you’ll have a lot of tubes attached to your body. Don’t worry this is to help in your recovery.

You'll also have a waterproof bag (urostomy bag) over the stoma to collect the urine. The bag sticks over the stoma. You can empty the bag as often as you would normally go to the toilet to pass urine.

Your nurse will teach you to look after your stoma before you go home. You will also have numbers to contact when you are sent home.

You are usually in hospital for 7 – 14 days after the operation.

Last reviewed: 
19 Jun 2019
  • Follow the Stream: Imaging of Urinary Diversions
    L N Moomjian and others
    RadioGraphics, 2016. Volume 36. Pages 688 - 709

  • Stoma Care. Treatment summary
    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Accessed October 2018

  • Living with a urostomy. Frequently asked questions from The British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS)
    British Association of Urological Surgeons, 2017

  • Formation of an ileal conduit. Information about your procedure from The British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS)
    British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS), 2017.

  • Complications After Ileal Urinary Derivations
    A Prcic and E Begic
    Medical Archives, 2017. Volume 71, Issue 5, Pages 320 - 324

  • The information on this page is based on literature searches and specialist checking. We used many references and there are too many to list here. Please contact patientinformation@cancer.org.uk with details of the particular issue you are interested in if you need additional references for this information.

Related links