Urostomy is a common type of surgery used in the treatment of bladder cancer. There are two types: ileal conduit (the more common type) and cutaneous ureterostomy.

If your urinary system stops working properly as a result of illness or injury, you may need a urinary diversion.

Urinary diversion is a surgical procedure that helps reroute urine out of your body when the natural pathway is not working correctly. For example, surgeons often perform this procedure after bladder removal due to bladder cancer.

There are several types of urinary diversion procedures:

  • Bladder catheterization: Surgeons insert a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into your bladder to drain urine.
  • Nephrostomy: Surgeons insert the catheter into your kidney.
  • Ureteral stent: Surgeons insert a tube called a stent into your ureter to keep it open.
  • Urostomy: Surgeons make an opening in your abdomen to collect the urine.
  • Continent urinary diversion: Surgeons insert a pouch inside your body that collects and stores urine until it’s drained.

Here we focus on the differences between an ileal conduit and other urostomy procedures, as well as their purposes, effectiveness, potential complications, and costs.

Typically, your bladder collects and stores urine until you need to relieve yourself. But if your bladder has been removed, there needs to be a way to ensure that urine can safely exit your body.

The purpose of ileal conduit and other urostomies is to make it possible for urine to leave your body if your bladder is removed or can’t function properly.

Both ileal conduit and other urostomies are considered very effective treatments. They can help you continue to live your life as usual without a bladder.

Both ileal conduit and other urostomies can have side effects and serious complications.

Possible side effects include minor bleeding around the stoma (the opening in your abdomen through which urine exits your body) and skin irritation around the stoma.

More serious complications may include infections and hernias affecting the stoma.

The ileal conduit has other possible complications related to how the procedure is performed. These include:

  • gastrointestinal (GI) complications such as bowel obstruction (blockage)
  • narrowing of the channel that is used for urinary diversion (called ureteroenteric stricture)

Let’s discuss what happens during ileal conduit and other urostomy procedures.

Ileal conduit procedure

Ileal conduit is typically an inpatient procedure, so you will be in the hospital. Healthcare professionals will give you general anesthesia before the procedure.

During the procedure, a surgeon will make a small incision in the lower part of your abdomen. They will then remove a piece of your bowel called the ileum and use it to connect your ureters to the stoma on your abdomen.

After the surgery, the urine will travel from your ureters through this new channel (the ileal conduit) to a pouch outside your body.

Other urostomy procedures

Cutaneous ureterostomy is a less common type of urostomy. In this procedure, a surgeon directly attaches the ureters to the stoma without the use of an ileal conduit.

This is a simpler procedure than an ileal conduit, so it may have fewer short-term side effects and complications. However, people with an ileal conduit may fare better in the long term.

The cost of ileal conduit and other urostomy procedures can vary depending on the following factors:

  • where you live
  • your hospital’s and surgeon’s fees
  • the amount of postoperative care you need

Ileal conduit surgery tends to be more expensive than cutaneous ureterostomy. According to a 2019 review of studies, together with bladder removal surgery, it can cost as much as $30,000.

However, the costs may be covered by private health insurance and government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage options.

People with ileal conduit and other types of urostomy have the same life expectancy as people who have not undergone these procedures, as long as there are no serious complications. With proper care and lifestyle adjustments, people with a urostomy can lead typical lives.

Let’s go over a few questions that many people ask about urostomy.

What is the ileal conduit?

The ileal conduit is a surgical procedure that involves using your ileum to create a channel for urine to exit your body through a stoma on your abdomen. “Ileal conduit” is also the name of that channel.

What is the difference between ileal conduit, cystostomy, and urostomy?

Ileal conduit and cutaneous ureterostomy are two types of urostomy procedure. A cystostomy, on the other hand, is a different surgical procedure in which a surgeon places a catheter directly into your bladder to drain urine.

Does an ileal conduit have a stoma?

An ileal conduit ends with a stoma, which is an opening on your abdomen through which urine drains.

Can you still urinate with a urostomy?

With a urostomy, you will not urinate through the natural pathway. Instead, your urine will pass through the stoma into an external pouch.

Urinary diversion is an essential procedure for people with some urinary health conditions. Urostomy is a common solution for people with bladder cancer. The two types of urostomy are ileal conduit and cutaneous ureterostomy.

Ileal conduit and other types of urostomy are considered effective procedures. While there are side effects and potential complications, proper care can help minimize the risks. With the right support, people with ileal conduit or urostomy can lead full, active, and long lives.