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  • Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Publication Type:



(Urinary Diversion Surgery)


A urostomy allows urine to pass through an opening made in the belly wall. The urine flows to a bag outside of the body. An internal pouch can also be created using the intestine.

Once healed, a urostomy should not limit your activities.

The Female Urinary System.

http://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=25802580AC00039.jpgThe Urinary SystemNULLjpgThe Urinary SystemNULL\\filer01\Intellect\images\AC00039.jpgCopyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.82NULL2002-10-013912502580_578353Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

This procedure is done if urine cannot leave the body as it normally would due to problems such as:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Structural defects—some may have existed since birth
  • Swelling that has lasted a long time
  • Nerve or muscle problems

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over possible problems such as:

  • Irritated skin
  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Fluid buildup in the belly
  • Blocked urine flow
  • Organ damage
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

Things that may raise the risk of problems include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Long term health issues such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting that do not go away
  • Pain that is not controlled with the medicines you were given
  • Pus, cloudiness, or strong odor in your urine
  • Redness, swelling, or bleeding from the stoma site
  • Strange changes in stoma size or color
  • Change in amount or frequency of passing urine
  • Back or belly pain
  • Cough, breathing problems, or chest pain

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Bladder cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/bladder-cancer.
  • Hsu, M.Y., Lin, J.P., et al. Preoperative stoma site marking decreases stoma and peristomal complications: a meta-analysis. Journal of Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing, 2020; 47 (3): 249-256.
  • New ostomy patient guide 2020. United Ostomy Associations of America website. Available at: https://www.ostomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/UOAA-New-Ostomy-Patient-Guide-2020-10.pdf.
  • Post-op and recovery—Urostomy Association website. Available at: https://urostomyassociation.org.uk/literature_category/post-op-and-recovery/.
  • Urostomy guide. United Ostomy Associations of America website. Available at: https://www.ostomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/UrostomyGuide.pdf.
  • What is a urostomy? American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/surgery/ostomies/urostomy/what-is-urostomy.html.
  • Your urostomy. American College of Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.facs.org/-/media/files/education/patient-ed/ostomy_skills/your_urostomy.ashx.


  • Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.