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Cystectomy and Urinary Diversion

In some cases of bladder cancer, removing the bladder, called a cystectomy, is necessary

Our goal is to see our patients overcome their bladder cancer and go on to lead healthy, active lives. In some cases of bladder cancer, it is necessary to remove part, or all of the bladder. Our surgical team has expertise in robotic cystectomy and neobladders for bladder cancer. The advantage of using robotic surgery for cystectomy is it decreases blood loss, the need for blood transfusion and leads to a quicker recovery.

When the bladder is removed, it is necessary to create a new method for the patient's body to handle urine. There are three ways to do this, called urinary diversions:

  • ileal conduit (the most common type of urinary diversion
  • neobladder
  • colon pouch

If you would like more information about robotic-assisted surgery, please visit the Robotic Urologic Surgery webpage.


As noted, one of the options after the bladder is removed is creating a neobladder. This is viewed as a more natural way to replace the bladder, since it doesn't require an external pouch. Instead, people with neobladders continue to expel urine as they did prior to having their bladder removed. It's important to note that a neobladder is not the same as a bladder. A period of adjustment is necessary but most patients find that once they get used to it, they are happy with it.

In the video below, Dr. Lee explains the neobladder in detail.

Still have questions?

The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.