Mayo surgeons most commonly perform a cystectomy to treat bladder cancer that has spread into the bladder wall. They may also perform a cystectomy to treat recurring superficial or treatment-resistant bladder cancer, as well as other conditions. Options may include:
- Partial cystectomy. In this procedure, also called a segmental cystectomy, surgeons remove the tumor and only a portion of the bladder. Doctors perform this procedure when your bladder will likely be able to continue to work normally.
- Radical cystectomy. In a radical cystectomy, surgeons remove your entire bladder. This is more common than a partial procedure because bladder cancer is often found when the disease is so advanced that partial removal isn't possible. For men, radical cystectomy usually involves removing the bladder, prostate and glands that help produce semen (seminal vesicles). For women, radical cystectomy usually involves removing the uterus, ovaries and sometimes part of the vagina. If you undergo this surgery, you may also have lymph nodes removed for examination. Removal of the lymph nodes has been shown to improve survival for people undergoing cystectomy.
For both radical and partial cystectomy, surgeons can perform the procedure using one of these methods:
- Traditional (open) procedure. Surgeons use a traditional abdominal incision.
- Minimally invasive robotic surgery. During robotic surgery, the surgeon uses a computer that remotely controls small instruments attached to a robot, with improved precision. The surgeon works while viewing highly magnified 3-D images of your body on a monitor. Use of several smaller incisions can decrease scarring and speed recovery.