Bladder Augmentation

What is bladder augmentation?

Bladder augmentation is a complex reconstructive surgical procedure to increase the size of the organ and to improve its ability to stretch. 

The bladder is a soft, stretchy, balloon-like organ where urine is stored until it is expelled from the body. In some children, the bladder is too small to hold the normal amount of urine produced by the kidneys, or it is very stiff and unable to fully expand to hold urine, resulting in urine leakage or urine back-up into the kidneys. Bladder augmentation can relieve urinary incontinence (wetting) and prevent damage to the kidneys from urine backing up. 

The bladder is augmented using a portion of the intestine or the stomach. However, Boston Children's Hospital has also tested an experimental technique using tissue engineering to create laboratory-grown bladders from the child's own bladder cells.

When Boston Children's recommends bladder augmentation

Your child's physician may recommend bladder augmentation if your child has chronic obstructive bladder damage, birth defects or any other medical problem that has made the bladder too small or too stiff to fully expand. Many children who need bladder augmentation have other serious medical problems, such as: