Q: Augmentation surgery, which occurs when part of the colon is removed and attached to the bladder to increase urine storage capacity and reduce bladder pressure, has been recommended for my 11- year-old daughter. Can you provide more information about the surgery?
A: Bladder augmentation is a major surgery that should not be undertaken lightly. However, this surgery protects the kidneys, preserves renal function, and makes it possible to stay dry between catheterizations in many children with Spina Bifida. Before resorting to surgical enlargement of the bladder though, clean intermittent catheterization and medication should be utilized. If those measures are not effective in reducing the bladder pressure, then bladder augmentation is a wise choice. However, once a bladder has been surgically enlarged (augmented), a strict catheterization program is necessary to prevent overfilling of the bladder; Overfilling of the bladder increases risk of leaking, bladder rupture, and bladder cancer. You should share specific questions and concerns with your child’s urologist. For more information, review SBA’s health information sheet on urologic care and management.