25 years of experience with 1,000 neobladders: long-term complications

J Urol. 2011 Jun;185(6):2207-12. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2011.02.006. Epub 2011 Apr 16.


Purpose: We analyzed the long-term complications (greater than 90 days postoperatively) in a large, single center series of patients who underwent cystectomy and substitution with an ileal neobladder.

Materials and methods: A total of 1,540 radical cystectomies were performed at our center between January 1986 and September 2008. Of the patients 1,013 received an ileal neobladder. Only the 923 patients with followup longer than 90 days (median 72 months, range 3 to 267) were included in analysis. All long-term complications were identified. The complication rate was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: The overall survival rate was 65.5%, 49.8% and 28.3% at 5, 10 and 20 years, respectively. The overall long-term complication rate was 40.8% with 3 neobladder related deaths. Hydronephrosis, incisional hernia, ileus or small bowel obstruction and feverish urinary tract infection were observed in 16.9%, 6.4%, 3.6% and 5.7% of patients, respectively, 20 years postoperatively. Subneovesical obstruction in 3.1% of cases was due to local tumor recurrence in 1.1%, neovesicourethral anastomotic stricture in 1.2% and urethral stricture in 0.9%. Chronic diarrhea was noted in 9 patients. Vitamin B12 was substituted in 2 patients. Episodes of severe metabolic acidosis occurred in 11 patients and 307 of 923 required long-term bicarbonate substitution. Rare complications included cutaneous neobladder fistulas in 2 cases, and intestinal neobladder fistulas, iatrogenic neobladder perforation, spontaneous perforation and necrotizing pyocystis in 1 each.

Conclusions: Even in experienced hands the long-term complication rate of radical cystectomy and neobladder formation are not negligible. Most complications are diversion related. The challenge of optimum care for these elderly patients with comorbidities is best mastered at high volume hospitals by high volume surgeons.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cystectomy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery
  • Urinary Reservoirs, Continent / adverse effects*