Bladder augmentation

Clam cystoplasty

A major operation to make the bladder larger to treat an overactive bladder and incontinence

About

This is a major operation to make the bladder bigger if it isn't working normally. It involves cutting open the bladder and sewing a patch of intestine (or bowel) between the two halves. This increases the capacity of the bladder and can help relieve symptoms of an overactive bladder and urgency.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    This surgery usually is carried out under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will make a cut on your lower abdomen, below the bikini line. They will open the bladder across the top to form two halves. It will still be joined at the bottom end (the bladder neck) and look like an open clam, which is where it gets its surgical name from. Your surgeon will then stitch a patch into the bladder to increase capacity. This can be made of small intestine (ileocystoplasty), large intestine (sigmoid cystoplasty) or stomach lining (gastro cystoplasty). The operation usually takes one to two hours.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    This is a major type of abdominal surgery so you will need to go through bowel preparation with special laxatives and enemas. This will be explained to you beforehand but it means you will have to be admitted to hospital at least a day before your surgery.  Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions you may have. 
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You will be cared for in hospital for around 10 days following the operation. You will have a catheter for seven to 10 days to keep the bladder empty while it heals. Full recovery can take three to four months. Your consultant will let you know what to expect.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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