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Cystectomy is a surgery to remove the urinary bladder. During radical cystectomy in men, prostate and seminal vesicles are also removed along with the entire bladder. In women, uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina are removed along with bladder.
Cystectomy is often performed to treat invasive or recurrent bladder cancer, other pelvic tumors, birth defects or neurological disorders that affect the urinary system.

What happens before the procedure?

Before surgery, Dr. Raghunath will enquire about any medicines that you take. To help in faster recovery and avoid complications, you will be asked to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, if you do and doctor will also do some adjustment to your medications. Doctor will suggest open surgery, minimally invasive surgery or robotic surgery depending on your condition.

Before your surgery is scheduled, the doctor will provide you specific set of instructions on how to prepare for the surgery. Follow those strictly and if you’ve any concerns, talk to doctor directly.

What happens during Cystectomy?

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Based on which method, Dr. Raghunath chooses for you, small or large cuts will be made into your abdomen. Your bladder along with nearby lymph nodes will be removed. In case the cancer has spread, the surgeon may also remove other organs near the bladder such as the urethra, prostate and seminal vesicles in men and the urethra, uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina in women.

After your bladder is removed, Dr. Ragunath will reconstruct the urinary tract in order to allow urine to leave your body.

What happens after the procedure?

After surgery, you might experience nausea, dry mouth, shivering and sleepiness due to anesthesia. You might need to stay in the hospital for about a week to recover. Dr. Raghunath and his team will take you for walk to promote healing and improve bowel function and circulation. You will be discharged once your intestine function returns to normal. Before discharge, doctor will explain about medications and other ways to improve your comfort. Doctor will recommend multiple follow-up visits to check for recovery and to see if cancer is not coming back.

What are the risks associated

Like any other surgical procedure, cystectomy also carries certain risks, like:
• Bleeding
• Blood clots
• Heart attack
• Infection
• Pneumonia
• Dehydration
• Electrolyte abnormalities
• Urinary tract infection
• A blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through your intestines
• A blockage in one of the tubes that carries urine from the kidneys
• Rarely, death can happen after surgery

Some of these complications may need to be treated again by readmission or re-operation. Dr. Raghunath will describe you in detail regarding all the associated risks before the procedure.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Cystectomy can have a major impact on quality of life, but even so, you can still lead a normal life after cystectomy.
If a stoma is created after surgery, you may have concerns about it but with time, you will get accustomed with caring for your stoma. Eventually, you can enjoy being with people and social activities.

With neobladder reconstruction, your new bladder slowly gets bigger over the first few months. Initially, you may need to urinate every few hours during the day, or as often as your doctor recommends. Later on, you may be able to increase the time between urination to every four hours. Do follow the schedule doctor recommends so that the new bladder doesn't stretch to become too big, which may make it difficult to empty your bladder completely.

People may experience some changes in sexual behavior after cystectomy. Some extent of nerve damage during surgery could impact men’s ability to have erections. Even if doctor conducts a nerve-sparing surgery, it might take sometime for erectile function to return to normal.
In women, cystectomy causes some changes to vagina, which can lead to discomfort during surgery. It can also impact arousal and ability to have an orgasm. It is possible to get intimate while having a stoma. It is advisable to empty pouch before sex to minimize leaks. Be patient and discuss your problems with the doctor for a proper solution.

After surgery, first six to eight weeks, you may need to restrict activities like lifting, driving, bathing, and going back to work or school. You'll gradually regain your strength, and your energy level should increase.
Talk to doctor to understand when it's safe to resume sexual activities. You should wait about six weeks before sexual intercourse to allow proper healing to take place.
You can try soups and stews that are easy to digest, easier on the healing bowels and the easiest way to keep high nutrition for healing. You can grate vegetables into soups or stews. For the first weeks, avoid fats and high-fibre foods, like popcorn and raw or undercooked vegetables. Discontinue alcohol, if you used to drink regularly as it may put you at risk for other complications during and after your surgery like bleeding, infections, heart problems, and a longer hospital stay.

Disclaimer Statement

This website is built with intention of providing basic details about the various diseases. The contents of the website is not meant to replace an in-person consultation. Please follow the advise of your doctor via in-person consultation. This website will not assume any legal responsibility for the patient’s medical condition.
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