Neobladder & Bladder Preservation

Most people with bladder cancer that has spread into the muscle or farther need surgery to remove the bladder to ensure the best outcome possible. Whenever possible, our surgeons consider approaches to preserve your bladder. For patients who do require surgery to remove the bladder (called cystectomy), our surgeons may be able to reconstruct a new one, called a neobladder.

Your surgeon may be able to keep the bladder intact by removing tumors through a minimally invasive procedure and then treating the cancer with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

In this approach, we remove the tumors with a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope, and our radiation therapists deliver radiation to the cancerous region of the bladder every day over the course of seven to eight weeks.

The low-dose chemotherapy heightens the sensitivity of the cancer cells to the radiation. If the tumors remain or return after bladder preservation treatment, you may need to have surgery to remove the bladder.

Depending on your particular situation, our surgeons may be able create a new bladder, called a neobladder. Built from part of the small intestine, the neobladder is connected to the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body), enabling you to urinate in a normal fashion.

This innovative approach has greatly enhanced quality of life for many of our patients, often eliminating the need for an external urine collection pouch. In cases in which the urethra has been removed, surgeons can connect the neobladder to a small opening in the skin of the abdominal wall to drain urine, called a stoma.