A vesicostomy is a temporary path from the bladder to the outside of the body. It will allow urine to drain.

The Bladder

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Reasons for Procedure

A vesicostomy is done if there is a blockage in lower urinary tract or the tract needs to heal.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems, such as:

  • An opening that narrows
  • Bladder tissue that pokes through the opening
  • Tissue that pulls in from the opening
  • Excess bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Infection

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your child’s doctor will do blood and urine tests. In addition:

  • Child should not eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure.
  • Some medicine may need to be stopped up to 1 week before the procedure. Let the doctor know about any medicine or supplements your child is taking.


General anesthesia will be used. It will block pain and keep your child asleep through the procedure.

Description of the Procedure

A small incision will be made through the skin below the bellybutton. A second incision will be made in the wall of the bladder. A small part of the bladder wall will be turned inside out. This tissue will be sewn to the belly wall.

A tube may be placed in the opening or it may be left open.

How Long Will It Take?

1 hour

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicine will help to manage discomfort in the days after.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

The care team will watch for any complications as your child wakes up. Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics to prevent infection
  • Medicine to prevent blood clots
  • Showing you how to care for the opening, including how to diaper your child
  • Planning diet and activity changes

At Home

The urine will be able to drain directly into a diaper. Most can return to activity within a week of surgery.

Call Your Child’s Doctor

Call your child’s doctor if any of these occur:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, or warmth around the opening
  • Yellow or green discharge around the opening
  • Pain that does not improve with the medication your child has been given
  • Urine does not drain from the opening
  • Urine that has a bad smell or is cloudy
  • Excess blood in the urine
  • Tissue sticks out of the opening or pulls in from the opening

If you think your child has an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation


About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children


Vesicostomy. About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children website. Available at:
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Accessed January 11, 2019.
Vesicostomy care. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital website. Available at: Accessed January 11, 2019.
Vesicostomy. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: Accessed January 11, 2019.
What is a vesicostomy? Children’s & Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Published December 2004. Accessed January 11, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
Last Updated: 12/18/2020

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