What is a urostomy?

A urostomy is a type of urinary diversion which involves disconnecting the ureters from the bladder and attaching them into a short length (15-25cms) of small bowel, which has been removed and re-formed, creating a reservoir through which the urine will flow. One end of the removed piece of bowel will be closed off, while the other will be brought to the surface of your abdomen, as a urinary stoma. You may or may not have your bladder removed, depending on the reasons for your surgery. Your Stoma Care Nurse will be able to explain this in further detail.

Info: A urostomy is usually on the right-hand side of your abdomen, but in some circumstances it may be made on the left-hand side.


The urinary system

Your urinary system

The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Urine is formed in the kidneys, and the ureters transport the urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder then stores the urine until you feel the desire to urinate, when the muscle of the bladder will contract to force urine out of the body through a tube called the urethra.

The urinary ststem:

  •   Kidneys
  •   Ureters
  •   Bladder
  •   Urethra

Why am I having a urostomy?

Your operation may need to be performed for a variety of reasons and your Surgeon and Specialist Nurse will explain these to you. There are a number of different diseases and conditions that can result in the need for a urostomy, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Bladder failure
  • Congenital abnormalities


What will my urostomy look and feel like?

Your urostomy should stand out slightly. However, it can be flat to your abdomen. It will be soft to touch, pinkish-red in colour and moist; rather like the inside of your mouth. There is no sensation in the stoma, so it is not painful. However, it has a rich blood supply and it is normal for it to bleed a little from time to time, especially when cleaning. Your urostomy is likely to be swollen at first and will take a few weeks to reduce in size. There will be small stitches around the edge of your urostomy, which will either be dissolvable or your Stoma Care Nurse will remove them 1-2 weeks after your operation.

Useful Resources

After urostomy surgery

Find out more

Living with a urostomy

Find out more

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