If you have bladder cancer that has invaded the deeper layers of the bladder wall or if you've had recurrent tumors, you may require removal of your entire bladder (cystectomy) to control the disease. After cystectomy, a surgical procedure to construct a new bladder, known as neobladder reconstruction, may be an option for you.

Learn more about bladder cancer.

About Neobladder Surgery

To create a neobladder, your surgeon first removes your cancerous bladder (cystectomy) and then takes a section of your intestine that is isolated and reshaped into a new bladder. Your surgeon may perform cystectomy with bladder reconstruction either through a traditional abdominal incision or with a robotic-assisted laparoscopic approach.

Your surgeon places the new bladder — neobladder — in the same location inside your body as your original bladder. The neobladder is attached to your ureters so that urine can drain from your kidneys to your new bladder. The other end of the neobladder is attached to your urethra. This reconstruction allows you to maintain a functional urinary tract.

As with any bladder substitute, it may take some time until the neobladder functions best. Soon after surgery, many people may have difficulties with urinary incontinence until the neobladder stretches to a normal bladder size.

Candidates

If you require complete bladder removal, you may be a candidate to have a neobladder reconstruction. Determining if this procedure is right for you depends on several factors, such as:

  • Your age and overall health, including your kidney function
  • Extent of your bladder cancer
  • Previous radiation or surgery to the bladder or prostate, which may affect the ability of the bowel to heal correctly after creation of a neobladder

Your doctor will review the risks and benefits of neobladder reconstruction with you and will discuss whether you're a candidate for this procedure. Neobladder surgery is not an option if you have urethral cancer.

Feb. 02, 2012