Urinary Diversion


Learn How the Urinary Diversion
Procedure Can Help Restore Proper
Function of the Urinary Tract

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A urinary diversion diverts the flow of urine out of the body and into a pouch.

The urinary tract is one of the most important systems in the human body. When it becomes compromised because of an illness or birth defect, it is no longer capable of carrying out its vital function. Doctors can repair the damage and restore the urinary tract to its proper role by performing a urinary diversion. A urinary diversion may be necessary when your urinary tract is damaged because of:

  • Cancer
  • Injury
  • Birth defects
  • Other factors

What is a Urinary Diversion?

A urinary diversion is a surgery that reroutes the flow of urine to outside of the body. The flow of urine can be interrupted by factors such as:

  • An enlarged prostate
  • Bladder cancer
  • An injury to the urethra
  • Urinary tract birth defects
  • Stones in the bladder, kidneys, or ureters
  • External pressure on the ureters

When the urinary tract cannot eliminate urine like normal, it leads to a build-up of waste and excess fluid in the body. This in turn can lead to pain, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, and death.

Doctors can prevent these side effects of a blocked urinary tract system by performing a urinary diversion. A urinary diversion can be either temporary or permanent. It may also be performed in conjunction with bladder removal surgery.



How is a Urinary Diversion Performed?

A urinary diversion is performed under general sedation in the hospital. If you are undergoing a temporary urinary diversion, your surgeon will insert a tube through your skin into your kidney.

The tube will then be attached to a pouch on the outside of your body. The flow of urine will be diverted to the pouch instead of your bladder. If you must undergo the permanent form of a urinary diversion, the surgeon will create a stoma in the side of your body. The stoma itself will be between one to three inches wide. It will divert the urine to an external pouch attached to the outside of your body. A permanent urinary diversion is needed when the bladder must be removed due to damage or extensive cancer.

Urinary Diversion Recovery

Because of the extensive nature of a urinary diversion surgery, you may have several days of inpatient recovery. When you are discharged to go home, you will be given post-surgical instructions that you must follow carefully. Your doctor will advise you to change your pouch often to prevent infections or a build-up of fluid in the stoma or tube.

You should also avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise until you are cleared by your doctor for these activities. You should be able to go back to your normal routine within eight weeks after your surgery.

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