A urostomy is a surgical procedure which diverts the normal flow of urine from the kidneys and ureters into a specially created stoma. To create the stoma the surgeon will isolate a short piece of the small intestine from which he will fashion a tube or spout (known as an ileal conduit). The two ureters will be plumbed into this spout which will be brought to the surface of the abdomen. Urine will continue to pass through the stoma, completely bypassing the bladder route.

There are a number of reasons for a urostomy all of which are connected to a defect or problem with the urinary system which needs to be removed or bypassed. Babies are sometimes born with a defect in their urinary system. In adults neurological disorders leading to severe incontinence or bladder cancer may result in urostomy surgery.

The flow of urine from a urostomy is continuous and a urostomy bag with a tap will be worn which will need emptying several times per day. The urine may contain some mucous. The urostomy bag will usually be attached to a night drainage bag while sleeping at night.

If there’s cancer in the bladder, all or part of the bladder may be removed and detouring the urine through a urostomy might cure the cancer. Some people find it easier to manage a urostomy than a defective bladder that may have been caused by a birth defect, surgery, or spinal injury. Bladder problems often mean that people can’t control the flow of urine – they are incontinent. This can be embarrassing and the constant wetting may cause skin problems. Some children are born with a defect in the urinary tract that causes urine to back up into the kidneys. This leads to chronic or repeat infections. For these children, a urostomy may be life-saving. Surgery can make a pathway through which the urine may travel easily, without any blockages (or obstructions) that cause it to back up. This allows the kidneys to work their best.