Cystectomy is a complex surgical procedure in which a surgeon removes some or all of the urinary bladder. The bladder stores urine before you pass it from your body. In men, removing the entire bladder (radical cystectomy) typically includes removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles.
In women, radical cystectomy also involves removal of the uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina. After having your bladder removed, your surgeon also needs to create a urinary diversion — a new way to store urine and have it leave your body. There are multiple ways that urine can be stored and eliminated after bladder removal.
Only a part of the bladder is removed. Usually, nearby lymph nodes are removed as well to determine whether any cancer has spread beyond the bladder. Lymph nodes are small bundles of tissue that filter your body’s lymph fluid and produce immune system cells. The remaining bladder is repaired and stays in the body.
Surgeons remove the entire bladder and nearby lymph nodes. In men, surgeons almost always cut the vas deferens and remove the prostate and seminal vesicles (parts of the male reproductive system). In women, doctors often also remove the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix and occasionally part of the vaginal wall.