Should I have bladder augmentation for urge incontinence?

Men and women who have severe urge incontinence because their bladders have become incapable of expanding normally are sometimes treated with bladder-enlarging surgery. Bladder augmentation, also called a "clam" augmentation cystoplasty or cystoenteroplasty, enlarges your bladder by attaching a piece of your intestine. Both the surgery and recovery are difficult.

Bladder augmentation is unlikely to be recommended unless your bladder is very small or an injury (usually a spinal cord injury) or disease (such as multiple sclerosis, severe interstitial cystitis, or radiation treatment for cancer) has made it incapable of expanding to hold a reasonable amount. This major abdominal surgery is usually reserved for people who have tried and failed to get relief through other measures, including sacral neuromodulation. It does not always cure overactive bladder (frequent urination and urges to urinate).

Bladder augmentation is performed under general anesthesia and takes up to seven hours. Afterward, you will use a catheter for many days until you are able to urinate. Following this procedure, most patients need to use intermittent catheterization in order to urinate. Other possible complications are infection and chronic diarrhea.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.