A cystectomy is a surgery to remove the urinary bladder. In most cases, it's used to treat bladder cancer. It can be done differently, from saving part of the bladder to taking it all out, along with surrounding structures and tissues.
Cystectomy refers to the process of surgically removing all or part of the bladder; it is most often performed to treat bladder cancer. This involves the removal of the entire bladder, nearby lymph nodes, and, in men, the prostate. In women, the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and part of the vagina may also be removed. After the surgery, the surgeon will have to make a new way for urine to exit your body, this is known as urine diversion. There are different types of urinary diversions, including ileal conduit, continent cutaneous pouch (such as an Indiana pouch or a neobladder), and orthotopic neobladder. Read on to understand when a cystectomy is recommended.
Cystectomy is most commonly indicated in the following scenarios:
Every case is evaluated separately, and the choice to continue with a cystectomy considers the patient's preferences, general health, and possible advantages, risks, and alternatives.
To secure a favorable outcome and reduce the risks before a cystectomy, It is essential to go through several steps while preparing for the surgery. Although a guide will vary from person to person, here is an overall outline of the things to be done:
Preparation for cystectomy is a complex process that requires physical, and emotional, planning. Make sure that you are clear about the advantages and risks of the procedure. Have open communication with your healthcare team to clear all your queries.
A cystectomy involves the following steps:
The length of the surgery varies, depending on the complexity of the procedure and whether additional organs (like the prostate in men) need to be removed or reconstructed. After surgery, patients stay in the hospital to recuperate and learn how to manage their new urinary diversion. Read on to understand recovery and aftercare post-cystectomy.
Recovery and aftercare following a cystectomy generally involve these steps:
The length of each person’s recovery differs based on factors such as the complexity of the surgery is and whether further treatment, that is, chemotherapy or radiation, will be needed. It is vital to follow the healthcare provider’s instructions very carefully for a smooth recovery.
The complications associated with cystectomy surgery can be either immediate (short term) and/or longer term. They can range from those complications that could occur with any surgery to more specific problems with the urinary diversion. Some of the potential complications are listed here:
Patients should have open and thorough discussions with their surgical team about the procedure's risks and how to recognize complications early. Patients should continue with close follow-up care after the procedure to monitor and manage potential issues.
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It is better to avoid alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine after a cystectomy. They are likely to dehydrate you and this can increase your risk of developing an infection.
The typical hospital stay after a cystectomy is about 5 to 10 days, but this can vary depending on the individual’s recovery and the type of urinary diversion performed.
Yes, a cystectomy is a major surgical procedure that involves removing the bladder and, in many cases, creating a new way for the body to store and pass urine.
The success rate of a cystectomy for treating bladder cancer is generally high, particularly when cancer is localized to the bladder. The definition of "success" can vary, often depending upon the stage of the cancer and the patient's quality of life.
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