A cystectomy is surgery to remove part or all of the bladder. The surgery is mainly used to treat bladder cancer.
After surgery, your belly will be sore, and you will probably need pain medicine for 1 to 2 weeks. You may notice some blood in your urine or that your urine is light pink for the first 3 weeks after surgery. This is normal.
If you have a urostomy (stoma), you can expect it to be swollen and tender at first. This usually improves after 2 to 3 weeks. A stoma is an opening the doctor makes in your belly. It connects to the newly created bladder so you can drain urine. You do this by placing a small plastic tube into your stoma. You decide when to do this.
If you have a neobladder, you will have a thin plastic tube (catheter) coming out of your urethra for about 3 weeks. When it is removed, you will urinate much as you always have, but you will need to set a time to urinate for the first few months after surgery. Your doctor will tell you how to do this. You will probably leak urine for a few months. Within 1 year, you should be able to control when you urinate.
While you recover from surgery, you will also learn to care for your stoma (if you have one) and your catheter. You may find it helpful to meet several times with a nurse who can teach you how to do this.
You will probably need 6 to 8 weeks to get back to your usual routine. If your surgery was done to treat bladder cancer, you may need other treatments after surgery, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Bladder cancer surgery may affect sexual function. If a woman's uterus and ovaries are removed during the surgery, she will not be able to get pregnant, and menopause may start. She may have hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. And if a man's prostate gland and seminal vesicles are removed, he may have problems getting an erection and will not be able to make a woman pregnant.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology
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