About bladder cancer surgery
If you have bladder cancer, your doctor may recommend surgery as part of cancer treatment. Surgery may remove some or all of the bladder and nearby tissues where cancer cells may have spread. We plan your procedure based on several factors, including how or where cancer has spread and your overall health.
Because our surgeons specialize in genitourinary cancer, they treat a high number of bladder cancer cases compared to many surgeons in the region. They are skilled in a variety of techniques and tailor the surgical approach to your situation.
This approach is called personalized medicine. Our surgeons tailor the surgical approach based on the details of your care, including the type of cancer, its location and your overall health.
Our team offers minimally invasive approaches (including robotic technology). These techniques may help you experience fewer side effects or get back to your life sooner after surgery.
Why choose us for bladder cancer surgery?
Highlights of our program include:
- Expertise: We perform close to 100 radical cystectomy (bladder removal) surgeries every year, which is more than many centers in the country. Some of our surgeons are known nationally for their skill and precision in treating advanced bladder cancers.
- Innovative techniques: Our team uses leading surgical techniques in your care. We are often able to reconstruct the urinary tract after removing the bladder. Many of our patients can continue urinating on their own or with few changes.
- Coordinated cancer services: Your treatment plan may include other therapies, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy or both. At our center, you have a team of experts (including medical oncologists and radiation oncologists) on your side. We give you access to some of today’s most advanced bladder cancer treatments, such as immunotherapy, close to home. Read more about how we treat bladder cancer.
Types of bladder cancer surgery
Our surgeons perform complicated bladder cancer procedures routinely. Bladder cancer surgical options include:
- Partial cystectomy removes part of the bladder. Your doctor may recommend this procedure if cancer affects only one area inside the bladder.
- Radical cystectomy removes the entire bladder, lymph nodes and other nearby organs, such as the prostate in males and the uterus or ovaries in women.
- Urinary tract reconstruction rebuilds the urinary tract after removing the bladder. Reconstructive options include:
- Neobladder surgery connects part of the small bowel (which acts as a new bladder) to the urethra. This procedure enables many people to urinate without big changes.
- Diversion surgery creates a new way for your body to store or get rid of urine. Surgeons make a small opening (stoma) near the abdomen and connect it to a bag that collects urine.
Bladder cancer surgery: How to talk to your doctor
It’s natural to have questions about what surgery entails and how it may affect your life. We are here for you every step of the way.
We take the time to personalize your care. Our recommendations take into account your needs and preferences. Our nurses are trained to support you as you learn to manage how your body functions after surgery.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Additional testing, if any, you may need to inform an upcoming surgery
- What to expect, including steps you can take to prepare for surgery and how long you can expect to stay in the hospital
- Your recovery, including how surgery may affect how you urinate
- Support services, including resources to support you in managing physical or emotional difficulties you experience