Cystotomy in Surgical Bladder Treatments

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What is a Cystotomy?

A cystotomy is a procedure in which a hole is made in the wall of the bladder. This may be a stand-alone procedure to remove bladder stones, or may be carried out to provide access to the bladder so that other surgical procedures can be performed.

While this procedure, which is also called a vesicotomy, is minor in itself, it is often part of a longer and more complex operation.

Reasons for Performing a Cystotomy

One of the most common reasons for undergoing a vesicotomy is so that stones can be removed from the bladder. Stones may develop when urine becomes highly concentrated in the bladder, which in turn may lead to the crystallization of minerals into tiny stones. Chronic urinary tract infections, nerve damage, or prostate swelling are among the conditions which may cause bladder stones to form.

If the stones cannot be removed or dissolved by any other means, they can be removed via surgery. A vesicotomy is performed to open the bladder and remove the stones.

This procedure may also be performed prior to removal of bladder cancer, to expose the bladder and allow the surgeon to ensure all the cancer is removed.

A related and very similarly-named procedure, called a suprapubic cystostomy or vesicostomy, involves the creation of a semi-permanent connection between the bladder and the skin. This “hole” allows urine to drain directly from the bladder, rather than moving through the urethra.

Hospitalization is not usually required for these procedures, if they are performed alone. Often, the patient can return home the same day, or after an overnight stay in hospital. However, if the procedure is performed as part of a larger operation, then more recovery time may be required.


BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver: Care of a Vesicostomy

Martens, Frank M J (FM); Somford, Diederik M (DM); van Kuppevelt, Dirk H J M (DH); van den Burg, Monica J M (MJ); Heesakkers, John P F A (JP). Retraction of an intrathecal baclofen infusion catheter following suprapubic cystotomy: a case report. In the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine: official journal of the UEMS European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2009-Jan; vol 41 (issue 1) : pp 90-1

The Mayo Clinic on Bladder Stones