Purpose of review: Patients who undergo radical cystectomy and urinary diversion experience a lengthy period of postoperative recovery from physical, functional, social, and emotional challenges that greatly impact health-related quality of life (HRQoL). These changes affect nearly all patients and must be reviewed in detail as part of the preoperative consultation. However, quantifying a patient's risk for altered HRQoL is imprecise, thus complicating the choice for urinary diversion.
Recent findings: A recent prospective study observed improved global health status and physical, role, and social functioning in patients treated with orthotopic neobladder diversion compared with patients treated with ileal conduit diversion. In contrast, robotic-assisted radical cystectomy does not improve patient quality of life (QoL) over open radical cystectomy within the first year of surgery. Enhanced recovery protocols improve immediate postoperative QoL but their effect on long-term QoL is uncertain.
Summary: There is still a significant lack of understanding about the QoL between various types of urinary diversions. Recent and ongoing prospective randomized trials in the radical cystectomy population may shed light on urinary diversion-specific function and related effects on HRQoL. Ultimately, well designed, large multicenter prospective-controlled trials comparing functional, social, and emotional outcomes of continent and incontinent urinary diversion are still needed.