Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Bladder Reconstruction

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If you are a candidate for bladder reconstruction and would like to talk to a surgeon who performs robotic surgery, call The Methodist Hospital at

Learn more about bladder disease and cancer.

Robotic Cystectomy and Intracorporeal Bladder Reconstruction

When the bladder is surgically removed due to cancer or another medical condition, your surgeon will create a new channel for urine to pass from your body. This procedure is known as bladder reconstruction or urinary diversion.
This can be done using one of three techniques:

  • Neobladder: A piece of your small intestine is used to create a new reservoir resembling a bladder, which is then connected to the urethra; this approach allows for normal urination.
  • Ileal Conduit: A piece of the intestine is used to connect the ureters (tubes that carry the urine) to an opening in the abdomen, directing the urine into an external collection bag.
  • Continent Cutaneous Pouch: Pieces taken from the small and large intestines are used to create a pouch, which connects to a small opening in the abdomen that must be catheterized from time to time to drain urine.

Robotic Surgery: A New Minimally Invasive Approach

Traditionally, bladder removal (cystectomy) and urinary diversion were performed through open surgery, because of the complexity of the procedures.

Today, Methodist is one of only two centers in the nation—and the only center in Texas—offering complete robotic surgery for both bladder removal for bladder cancer and intracorporeal reconstruction with neobladder. This minimally invasive approach uses only a few minor incisions, with the potential for decreased blood loss, less pain and quicker recovery.

Robotic Surgery for Bladder Reconstruction

If your doctor recommends surgery for bladder cancer, you may be a candidate for robotic cystectomy and bladder reconstruction. The da Vinci® Surgical System offers the latest robotic technology, combining the advantages of open surgery with a minimally invasive approach. Robotic-wristed instruments are used to perform complex surgical maneuvers through tiny keyhole incisions. Three-dimensional stereoscopic vision provides excellent visualization of the bladder and surrounding anatomy—a critical advantage in these delicate procedures.

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Potential benefits of robotic bladder reconstruction over traditional open and laparoscopic surgery include:

  • Significantly less pain
  • Less scarring compared to open surgery
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer complications
  • Earlier return to normal bowel function
  • Faster return to normal diet
  • Faster recovery

For bladder cancer patients needing chemotherapy after surgery, robotic surgery may enable the patient to begin chemotherapy treatment sooner.

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient- and procedure-specific. Robotic bladder reconstruction may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options as well as each treatment’s risks and benefits.

Leaders in Robotic Surgery

There is strong national and international interest in robotic cystectomy and bladder reconstruction techniques
used here at Methodist.

Our surgeons travel the globe sharing their expertise and training other healthcare professionals in these and other robotic procedures, advancing the practice of medicine around the world.