Bladder Augmentation In-Depth

How will my child's surgeon perform the bladder augmentation?

Bladder augmentation can be performed as a traditional open surgery, which requires a large incision on the abdomen. A portion of intestine or the stomach is attached to the bladder as a patch. The operation can also be done using minimally invasive techniques, the preferred technique at Boston Children's Hospital.

Surgeons at Boston Children's have recently completed an 18-month study to perfect a method for performing the procedure using state-of-the-art robotic surgery equipment. This minimally invasive approach significantly reduces pain, scarring, and recovery time for your child.

What are the complications associated with bladder augmentation?

Complications of bladder augmentation are similar to other surgeries. The procedure requires general anesthesia, and some patients can suffer headaches, nausea, or dizziness. Other risks include bleeding, infection or rupture of the bladder. In some cases, your child's bladder may continue to leak after surgery, which could require an additional operation.

Finally, because the intestine is designed to absorb nutrients, while the bladder is designed to excrete, patients are prone to long-term complications, such as osteoporosis and stone formation and an increased risk of cancer.

What is the long-term outlook for a child who requires a bladder augmentation?

Bladder augmentation significantly improves the quality of life of most patients.

A few patients recover the capacity to urinate normally after bladder augmentation, but many others must learn to use a catheter to drain urine from the body.