What are the Different Types of Urinary Surgery?

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  • Written By: Hillary Flynn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Urinary surgery is used to treat injuries, disease, and congenital deformities associated with the urinary system. This includes issues with the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra, which all perform necessary functions related to the elimination of wastes and toxins found in blood. The kidneys remove the toxins and produce urine, which is then carried to the bladder by the ureters. The bladder stores the urine until it is excreted through the urethra. Urinary surgery is used to correct problems with this process, such as urinary incontinence, overactive bladder disorders, and severe conditions such as bladder cancer that may require a urinary diversion.

Urinary incontinence is the body's inability to control the flow of urine. The most common type is stress incontinence, which is usually the result of changes to the nerves and muscles that control urine flow. The result is sudden and uncontrollable leakage when sneezing, coughing, or lifting puts additional pressure on the abdominal muscles. When muscle strengthening exercises and medication fail to work, doctors may perform a retropubic suspension surgery to offer more support to the bladder neck and urethra with surgical threads, or one of two sling surgery procedures. The first urinary surgery sling procedure uses a patient's own tissue to create a supportive bladder sling, and the second relies on synthetic materials.


An overactive bladder, one type of urge incontinence, is another troublesome issue that may require urinary surgery. Though it is not as common to employ surgery as a remedy for this condition, it is still an option in certain cases. Urge incontinence is urine leakage caused by a sudden urge to urinate that doesn't allow enough time to get to a toilet. This is typically caused by a condition such as Parkinson's disease, kidney stones, or stroke. A minimally invasive surgical procedure to implant an electronic device in the back may help to control bladder contractions when other remedies have not been successful.

The most invasive urinary surgery is a urinary diversion. This procedure requires removal of the urinary bladder and a rerouting of the urinary system. Reasons for a urinary diversion include bladder cancer, severe trauma or injury, and congenital deformity. Once the bladder and surrounding tissues are removed, the ureters are attached to the intestine. Depending on the portion of the intestine to which the ureters are attached, urine will drain into a plastic pouch laid on the abdomen, through the rectum, or into a "false" bladder within the abdomen that is created with the patient's own intestine.


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