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Life Without A Bladder

Posted Jan 07 2009 6:04pm
There are so many organs in our body; all playing important roles to ensure that our body is functioning properly. Have you thought of life without a particular organ?

Well, just yesterday, I spoke to a 70 year old lady who was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. She was to undergo a "cystectomy" this morning, in which she did. Cystectomy = removal of bladder. hmm..removing your bladder..it doesnt sound like a very nice thing to undergo. But I find it particularly interesting.

Therefore, I was at the theatre from 10am till 2.45pm today. The operation took so so long...now my feet is aching. But it was certainly an eye-opener. I was lucky to get a good view to observe the whole surgery. The surgeons were very kind to guide me through what they were doing, while pointing out the few organs in the abdomen.

I guess you must be wondering how the hell is this person goin to ever pass urine eh? Will that person ever feel the urge to pass urine ever again? The answer is NO. Without a bladder, there is no place to store urine.

Let me run you through the whole surgery. First, you have an incision in your abdomen. Then, your bladder will be taken out. If you're a female, then you'll most likely have both your ovaries and uterus removed together. The reason for this is because the surgery will usually cause some damage to these organs because they are closely connected. After that, a part of you intestines (terminal ileum) will be cut out, say about 7 cm in length. One end of this will be connected to your ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), while the other end will be connected to the side of your intestines (just so that it is fixed, and not moving about). Next, the opening of the cut-out intestine will be stitched to an opening in the abdominal skin, forming a "stoma". (hope you get the idea) So, once urine is produced, it will be carried by the ureters and move through the cut-out intestine, and through the stoma and finally, empty into a urine bag.

This urine bag will be attached to your body all the time..it serves as the new bladder. I have to say that carrying a bag of urine around is not fun at all. There is always a chance of urine leakage, the potential smell and the bag may protrude out from your clothes. Not to mention, your urine is warm and you'll always have this warm bag attached to your body...mmm...u know, it will be so weird. I really pity those who have to undergo such procedures. But this is the best option of getting rid of more extensive bladder cancer.
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