Cystectomy as an Option for Interstitial Cystitis
Bladder removal, called a cystectomy, is another interstitial cystitis surgical option. However, it is used infrequently.
Once the bladder has been removed, different methods can be used to reroute the urine. In most cases, ureters are attached to a piece of colon that opens onto the skin of the abdomen. This procedure is called a urostomy, and the opening is called a stoma. Urine empties through the stoma into a bag outside the body.
Some urologists are using a second technique that also requires a stoma, but allows urine to be stored in a pouch inside the abdomen. At intervals throughout the day, the patient puts a catheter into the stoma and empties the pouch. Patients with either type of urostomy must be careful to keep the area in and around the stoma clean to prevent infection. Serious potential complications may include kidney infection and small bowel obstruction.
A third method to reroute urine involves making a new bladder from a piece of the patient's colon and attaching it to the urethra. After healing, the patient may be able to empty the newly formed bladder by voiding at scheduled times or by inserting a catheter into the urethra. Only a few surgeons have the special training and expertise needed to perform this interstitial cystitis surgery.
Even after total bladder removal, some patients still experience variable symptoms of interstitial cystitis in the form of phantom pain. Therefore, the decision to undergo a cystectomy should be made only after testing all alternative methods and after seriously considering the potential outcome.