What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Doctors recommend that you quit smoking before surgery. You may also need to take antibiotics to prevent infection and laxatives to clean out the bowels.
The night before, you may be asked not to eat anything and to only drink clear liquids. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight or on the morning of the procedure. This includes avoiding clear liquids, coffee, tea, and water.
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, such as:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen
- Blood thinners
- Anti-platelet medication
Description of Procedure
An incision will be made in the abdomen to expose the bladder. In a radical cystectomy, all blood vessels to the bladder will be cut. The bladder will then be removed along with nearby lymph nodes, part of the urethra, and nearby organs that may contain cancer cells. In men, the prostate and glands that help produce semen will also be removed. In women, the uterus, ovaries, and, sometimes, part of the vagina will be removed.
The doctor will also need to create a new way for urine to be passed out of the body. A new bladder may be built using pieces of intestine. Or, an external bag may be attached to the abdomen.
In a partial cystectomy, only part of the bladder will be removed.
Kidneys, Ureters, and Bladder
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
How Long Will It Take?
About 3–6 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during the surgery. Recovery is usually painful. Your doctor will give you medicine to help manage the pain.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 5-12 days. The specific length of time will depend on your condition and the reason for surgery. Your doctor may also choose to keep you longer if complications occur.
At the Hospital
- A stay in the intensive care unit may be needed.
- During surgery, a tube will be placed from the nose to the stomach. It will stay there for several days. Because you cannot eat with the tube in place, you will receive IV fluids.
- If a urine bag was attached during the surgery, you will be taught how to dispose of urine.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Difficult physical activity should be avoided for 4-6 weeks.
- Avoid heavy lifting, straining, and sexual activity until your doctor tells you it is okay.
- Driving and climbing stairs is usually allowed. Ask your doctor about any restrictions.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, heavy bleeding, or discharge from the incision and/or stoma site
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Inability to urinate or difficulty urinating, extreme cloudiness or pus in the urine, a bad odor to the urine
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.