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(Urinary Diversion Surgery)

Pronounced: Your-os-toe-me


An ostomy creates an opening in the abdominal wall. A urostomy reroutes urine so that urine can pass through this new opening to a bag outside the body. Sometimes an internal pouch is created using the intestine.

You should be able to return to normal activities after your urostomy.

The Female Urinary System

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure    TOP

A urostomy may be needed if urine is not able to pass through the urinary system. Most of the time, a urostomy is needed because of problems with the bladder such as:.

  • Bladder cancer
  • Birth defects
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Nerve-muscle control problems

Possible Complications    TOP

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems like:

  • Skin irritations
  • Fluid build-up in the abdomen
  • Urine flow blockage
  • Damage to other organs
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications, such as:

What to Expect    TOP

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will go over your family and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Part of the exam may include tests, like:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Cystoscopy
  • MRI or CT scans
  • Urography

You may also need to:

  • Discuss any allergies or allergies to medications that you have.
  • Tell your doctor about any medications, herbs, or supplements you take.
  • Arrange for a ride from the hospital and help at home.
  • Not eat or drink the night before your surgery.

You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.


General anesthesia will keep you asleep during the procedure.

Description of the Procedure    TOP

An incision is made in the abdomen. A piece of intestine will be removed. The tubes that pass urine to the bladder will be detached from the bladder. The tubes are then reattached to the intestine that was removed. The other end of the intestine is then brought through the abdominal wall to form a stoma. One end is closed together to make a pouch that holds urine inside the body. The bladder may or may not be removed.

The abdomen will be closed. Stitches or staples will be used to close the skin.

Immediately After Procedure    TOP

You will be taken to the recovery room where your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature will be monitored.

How Long Will It Take?    TOP

About 2-5 hours.

How Much Will It Hurt?    TOP

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.

Average Hospital Stay    TOP

You will be in the hospital for a few days. Your doctor may keep you in the hospital longer if you have any complications.

Post-procedure Care    TOP

At the Hospital

At the hospital, you will:

  • Walk as soon as you are able to help prevent blood clots.
  • Receive nutrition through an IV until your gastrointestinal tract is functioning again.
  • Learn how to change the urine pouch and dispose of urine.
  • Learn how to take care of the stoma.

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered

There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incision

At Home

When you return home:

  • Care for your stoma as directed.
  • Change your pouch on a regular schedule.
  • When it is okay to get the stoma wet, do not use bath oils or salts in the water.
  • Care for the incision site and monitor it for signs of infection.

Call Your Doctor    TOP

It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:

  • Fever or chills
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
  • Unusual discharge such as pus, extreme cloudiness, or strong odor
  • Redness, swelling, or excessive bleeding from the stoma site
  • Unusual changes in stoma size or color
  • Change in urine frequency or amount
  • Back or abdominal pain
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


American Cancer Society
United Ostomy Associations of America


Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Urological Association


Bladder cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 6, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2016.
Urostomy guide. United Ostomy Associations of America website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated 2011. Accessed June 1, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 5/28/2014

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