Bladder Surgery: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Jan 17, 2024
Bladder surgery treats bladder cancer and other serious health problems involving this vital organ. If you have an upcoming bladder surgery procedure, knowing what to expect and how to prepare can offer peace of mind.

So, you’re facing an upcoming bladder surgery procedure. While it’s normal to feel nervous, you’re in the very best hands with board-certified urologist David B. Samadi, MD. From our office in Central Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Dr. Samadi and our caring specialists provide exemplary bladder care using the latest state-of-the-art bladder surgery techniques.

Here, we discuss what you can expect from bladder surgery and how you can prepare for a smooth procedure and recovery. We hope this information demystifies bladder surgery and helps you feel confident about what lies ahead. 

What to expect from bladder surgery 

There are many types of bladder surgery, so the specifics of your procedure depend on your specific condition and treatment needs. The most common reason for bladder surgery is bladder cancer, and Dr. Samadi’s surgical approach depends on the stage of the cancer. 

Early stage bladder cancer surgery

When bladder cancer is detected early, Dr. Samadi can use a cystoscope a hollow long tube equipped with a camera to access and view the bladder lining. He passes special surgical tools through the cystoscope to remove small tumors, using a technique called transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). Cystoscopy is an outpatient procedure and performed under local anesthesia. 

Late-stage bladder cancer surgery

For late-stage bladder cancer, the most effective treatment is a cystectomy, or the partial or full removal of the bladder. After bladder removal, Dr. Samadi creates a urinary diversion, or a new “bladder” made of intestinal tissue, to take over the bladder’s job of collecting and storing urine. 

You may also need chemotherapy and/or radiation to address any possible remaining cancer cells following bladder surgery. 

Robotic surgery for bladder cancer

Dr. Samadi performs bladder surgery for advanced bladder cancer using the state-of-the-art da Vinci® robotic surgery system. During robotic surgery, Dr. Samadi controls a robotic arm from a sophisticated console. 

The arm executes every movement he makes, allowing him to perform the procedure with the highest level of precision possible. Dr. Samadi views the surgical site on a high-definition monitor that’s magnified 10 times for close and extra-clear visualization. 

Robotic surgery uses special thin instruments, so the incisions required for a robotic cystectomy are much smaller than those needed for traditional bladder removal surgery (open surgery). Most people have five to six tiny incisions, each of which is less than half an inch long. 

Robotic surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so you’ll sleep throughout the operation. Because the incisions are so much smaller, the procedure is far less invasive than traditional bladder removal surgery. This means less bleeding, pain, and time in the hospital as well as a faster recovery. It also reduces your risk of infection. 

How you prepare for bladder surgery 

Before your scheduled procedure, Dr. Samadi explains your bladder surgery preparation in detail. While every patient is different, general guidelines for most surgeries include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Temporarily discontinuing blood thinner medications (we guide you on how and when to start)
  • Discontinuing supplement and herbal preparation use (we guide you on how to do so)
  • Starting a course of antibiotics 
  • Fasting starting at midnight the day before your surgery

We’re here to lead you through bladder surgery prep and the procedure itself so you can get on with the most important thing: your recovery. 

Bladder cancer has a 98% survival rate if it’s caught and treated early. While rates are lower for later stages, it’s important to remember that bladder cancer is treatable — and beatable — if you act fast. 

Do you have questions about bladder surgery? We have answers. Call David B. Samadi, MD, in Central Midtown Manhattan, New York, today, or contact us online for an appointment any time. Dr. Samadi also sees patients at St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center in East Hills, Long Island, New York, once a week.