Bladder surgery is rarely considered for the treatment of IC. In the AUA Treatment Guidelines, surgical intervention is classified as a STEP SIX treatment. Using those guidelines, the patient should have first tried and failed treatments from STEP ONE through STEP FIVE, including diet modification, OTC supplements, oral medications, bladder instillations, physical therapy, Hunner’s lesion treatment and some experimental therapies (i.e. botox).
A substitution cystoplasty can help increase bladder capacity by using a section of the bowel to enlarge the bladder. A urinary diversion can bypass the bladder. Bladder removal (aka cystectomy) is only considered in cases where the bladder is severely damaged and/or has minimal bladder capacity.
Patients considering surgery should do a careful review of the pro’s and con’s of the procedure. It’s also important to talk with other patients who have gone through the procedure. The ICN Support Forum offers several discussion areas on all treatments listed above, including bladder removal.