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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.




Cystectomy is the surgical removal of the entire bladder. This surgery may be suggested in certain cases of bladder cancer, especially high-grade, high-stage cancer. Your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of cystectomy with you. If you decide to have surgery, the surgeon can explain the procedure and answer your questions.

Cutaway view of urinary tract
In men, the bladder, lymph nodes, prostate, and often the urethra are removed.

Preparing for Surgery

You'll be given instructions on how to prepare for your surgery. These may include the following:

  • Your doctor may advise donating your own blood before surgery in case you need a transfusion during the procedure.

  • You may be given antibiotics to take before surgery to help prevent infection.

  • Don't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.

  • You may be given a special drink to help clear out your intestine. In some cases, you may be admitted to the hospital the night before surgery and given medications and enemas to empty the intestine.

In women, the bladder, uterus, cervix, lymph nodes, urethra, and sometimes part of the vagina are removed.

Removing the Bladder

The surgery is done in the hospital. It generally takes 4-6 hours, but can take longer depending on the situation. You'll be given general anesthesia so you sleep throughout the procedure. An incision is made near your bellybutton. The area around your bladder is examined to see if the cancer has spread. If it has, the procedure may not be continued. If the cancer is only in the bladder, the bladder is removed. In case cancer cells have already spread, other organs near the bladder are often removed as well.

Creating a New Path for Urine

When the bladder is removed, another way to store and release urine is needed. This often means making a new opening for urine to travel out of the body. This procedure is called a urostomy. Your doctor will explain this procedure to you.

Risks and Possible Complications

  • Infection

  • Bleeding, requiring a transfusion

  • Blockage of intestine

  • Impotence

  • Blood clot


Date Last Reviewed: 2005-09-28T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2005-09-28T00:00:00-06:00


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