What is Cystostomy?

Cystostomy is a surgically created opening through the lower abdomen into the urinary bladder. A plastic tube is inserted into the opening and drains urine from the bladder into a plastic collection bag. This relatively simple procedure is done when a person requires an indwelling catheter to drain excess urine from the bladder but cannot, for some reason, have it pass through the urethral opening.

Effects of Cystostomy

When a cystostomy tube (catheter) is left in place, the bladder is able to completely empty. This is considered by majority of patients because it is more comfortable than an indwelling urethral catheter, as well as permits greater mobility for the patient and a reduced amount of risk of bladder infection.

Candidates for Cystostomy

Cystostomy is done in patients who are unable to urinate or have urine left in their bladder in order to have it drained.

Your Consultation

The patient may have general, spinal, or intravenous sedation in order to prevent discomfort. Our staff at BHMG will explain to the patient any special preparation that will be necessary.

The Cystostomy Procedure

An incision is made in the abdominal wall into the bladder after skin preparation is done after which a drainage tube or a catheter is inserted. This tube is secured to the abdomen and a sterile dressing is then applied.


After the surgery, it is imperative that arrangements are made for someone to take the patient home as he or she will not be permitted to dive due to the sedatives used during the procedure. Other special instructions may be given out to the patient by the surgeon.


The potential risks in this invasive medical procedure include:

  • discomfort
  • infection
  • pressure upon urination


What is a cystostomy?

A cystostomy is a surgical formation of an opening in the abdomen which permits a tube or a catheter to be inserted making it possible to drain urine from the bladder. This procedure is also called a vesicostomy.

What is a suprapubic cystostomy?

A suprapubic cystostomy is when the formation of an opening into the bladder passes directly above the pubic bone. This procedure is a surgically-created connection between the urinary bladder and the skin which is used to drain urine from the bladder in individuals who has obstruction of normal urinary flow. Urinary flow may be blocked because of many factors such as swelling of the prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy), traumatic disruption of the urethra, urinary tract congenital defects, or by other obstructing objects such as kidney stones and cancer. With the aid of ultrasound imaging, a thin tube or a catheter is initially placed through the skin just above the pubic bone into the bladder. This catheter remains in place for approximately a month while the tissue surrounding it scars and creates a tract between the bladder and the skin. After the initial period, the catheter is changed intermittently so that infections may be prevented.

Who are the candidates for a cystostomy?

Cystostomy may be indicated for patients who are having a hard time emptying their bladders completely or are not able to urinate at all.