According to the American Cancer Society, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. Although women can also be diagnosed with bladder cancer, it is less common.
While there are non-invasive various treatment options for bladder cancer, such as BCG, it is often estimated that around 25% will need bladder removal surgery.
What Is a Cystectomy?
Cystectomy is the term used to describe urinary bladder removal surgery. The surgeon can perform either partial removal or complete (radical) removal.
A cystectomy is a common form of bladder cancer treatment. It is used to treat invasive or recurrent noninvasive bladder cancer.
The surgeons at Urology of Greater Atlanta are expertly trained to perform this type of surgery. Exams such as a urine cytology test and a CT exam will determine the extent of the treatment.
If you are a man, the procedure may involve removing your entire bladder and removing the prostate and seminal vesicles. For women, the surgeon may also remove the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and part of the vagina.
After having your bladder removed, your surgeon creates a new urinary system to store urine and provide a way for it to leave your body. Your doctor will decide the best method to use.
What Should I Expect From a Cystectomy?
The surgeons at Urology of Greater Atlanta are highly trained and experienced at minimally invasive surgery, also known as robotic surgery. This type of surgery offers extensive benefits to patients, including quicker recovery, smaller incisions, less blood, less pain, and a decreased risk of infection.
During the procedure, your surgeon removes your bladder along with nearby lymph nodes. As mentioned above, your surgeon may also need to remove other organs near the bladder.
Once your bladder is removed, your surgeon will reconstruct your urinary system in order to allow urine to leave your body. They will decide the best method from the following options:
The surgeon will use a piece of your small intestine to create a thin tube that will connect from your kidneys until an opening in your abdominal wall. The urine flows out continuously into a bag which stores the urine until you empty it.
The surgeon will create a new bladder using a piece of your small intestine and place it in the same place as your original bladder. It then gets reconnected to the urinary system. Although this maintains relative normal function, some still require the use of a catheter, or they may experience urinary incontinence.
Continent Urinary Reservoir
Again the surgeon uses a piece of your intestine to create a small internal reservoir to collect urine. As the reservoir is located inside the body, it eliminates the need for an external bag. However, you will need to empty it several times a day using a catheter. Some are known to experience leakage or revision surgery after choosing this procedure.
If you have concerns about bladder cancer or are considering bladder cancer surgery, make an appointment to speak to one of the urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta. We have offices throughout Metro Atlanta, including Spivey Station.