Urinary diversion and bladder reconstruction/replacement using intestinal segments for intractable incontinence following bladder surgery

The normal urinary bladder is a hollow muscular organ that lies deep in the pelvis. It functions through the balanced activity of many inter-related nerves and muscles that contain or empty urine as needed. If the bladder has been damaged by disease, surgery can be performed to divert the urine from the bladder (urinary diversion), to reconstruct the bladder or to replace the bladder with intestinal segments. The review did not find enough evidence from trials to show which surgical options are the most effective. One small trial suggested that the ileum bowel segment (small bowel) may be better compared to ileocolonic bowel segment (combination of small and large bowel) for night time incontinence. More research is needed to determine the most effective surgical methods for urinary diversion, reconstruction or replacement of the urinary bladder that has been damaged by disease.

Authors' conclusions: 

The evidence from the included trials was very limited. Only five studies met the inclusion criteria; these were small, of moderate or poor methodological quality, and reported few of the pre-selected outcome measures. This review did not find any evidence that bladder replacement (orthotopic or continent diversion) was better than conduit diversion following cystectomy for cancer. There was no evidence to suggest that bladder reconstruction was better than conduit diversion for benign disease. The clinical significance of data from one small trial suggesting that bladder replacement using an ileal segment compared to using an ileocolonic segment is better in terms of lower rates of nocturnal incontinence is uncertain. The small amount of usable evidence for this review suggests that collaborative multi centre studies should be organised, using random allocation where possible.

Read the full abstract...

Surgery performed to improve or replace the function of the diseased urinary bladder has been carried out for over a century. Main reasons for improving or replacing the function of the urinary bladder are bladder cancer, neurogenic bladder dysfunction, detrusor overactivity and chronic inflammatory diseases of the bladder (such as interstitial cystitis, tuberculosis and schistosomiasis). There is still much uncertainty about the best surgical approach. Options available at the present time include: (1) conduit diversion (the creation of various intestinal conduits to the skin) or continent diversion (which includes either a rectal reservoir or continent cutaneous diversion), (2) bladder reconstruction and (3) replacement of the bladder with various intestinal segments.


To determine the best way of improving or replacing the function of the lower urinary tract using intestinal segments when the bladder has to be removed or when it has been rendered useless or dangerous by disease.

Search strategy: 

We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group Specialised Trials Register (searched 28 October 2011), which contains trials identified from the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE and CINAHL, and handsearching of journals and conference proceedings, and the reference lists of relevant articles.

Selection criteria: 

All randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of surgery involving transposition of an intestinal segment into the urinary tract.

Data collection and analysis: 

Trials were evaluated for appropriateness for inclusion and for risk of bias by the review authors. Three review authors were involved in the data extraction. Data were combined in a meta-analysis when appropriate.

Main results: 

Five trials met the inclusion criteria with a total of 355 participants. These trials addressed only five of the 14 comparisons pre-specified in the protocol. One trial reported no statistically significant differences in the incidence of upper urinary tract infection, uretero-intestinal stenosis and renal deterioration in the comparison of continent diversion with conduit diversion. The confidence intervals were all wide, however, and did not rule out important clinical differences. In a second trial, there was no reported difference in the incidence of upper urinary tract infection and uretero-intestinal stenosis when conduit diversions were fashioned from either ileum or colon. A meta-analysis of two trials showed no statistically significant difference in daytime or nocturnal incontinence amongst participants who were randomised to ileocolonic/ileocaecal segment bladder replacement compared to an ileal bladder replacement. However, one small trial suggested that bladder replacement using an ileal segment compared to using an ileocolonic segment may be better in terms of lower rates of nocturnal incontinence. There were no differences in the incidence of dilatation of upper tract, daytime urinary incontinence or wound infection using different intestinal segments for bladder replacement. However the data were reported for 'renal units', but not in a form that allowed appropriate patient-based paired analyses. No statistically significant difference was found in the incidence of renal scarring between anti-refluxing versus freely refluxing uretero-intestinal anastomotic techniques in conduit diversions and bladder replacement groups. Again, the outcome data were not reported as paired analysis or in form to carry out paired analysis.