General Urology
 

Bladder Diverticulum

A bladder diverticulum is an outpouching in the bladder and is often asymptomatic.  Occasionally, they can cause problems like recurrent urinary tract infections or bladder cancer.

What is a bladder diverticulum?

A diverticulum is an outpouching in the bladder.  It can be either congenital (born with) or acquired.  Congenital diverticula are usually diagnosed in childhood or on prenatal ultrasound.  Acquired bladder diverticula are often due to bladder outlet obstruction from an enlarged prostate, urethral stricture (scar tissue in the tube which we urinate out), or neurologic disease.  Acquired diverticula are most ypically seen in elderly men and often associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

What are the symptoms of a bladder diverticulum?

Bladder diverticula are often asymptomatic but can also be symptomatic.  Some of the symptoms including urinary retention (inability to urinate), urinary tract infection, or blood in the urine.  They are often found incidentally on imaging for other conditions.

How is a bladder diverticulum diagnosed?

Bladder diverticula are often diagnosed on imaging studies like a CT scan or ultrasound incidentally.  .  After the initial suspicion, more specific tests like a cystogram (X-ray tests of the bladder filled with contrast dye) or cystoscopy (placing a scope into the bladder via the urethra) can confirm the diagnosis. 

How is a bladder diverticulum treated?

Congenital or acquired diverticula do not always require treatment, particularly if they are not associated with urinary infections, bladder stones, or urinary reflux.  (backwards flow of urine into the kidneys)  Bladder diverticula associated with bladder tumors, recurrent infection, or urinary retention do need treatment.  For patients with diverticula and urinary obstruction, treatment will include relief of the obstruction and possible removal of the diverticulum  Bladder diverticulum can be treated with both open and laparoscopic (using small incision and camera holes) to perform the surgery.

What can be expected after treatment for bladder diverticulum?

The treatments offered have excellent results and can result in complete resolution of urinary symptoms.  Most men will usually void much better after surgery.  There is some followup after surgery to ensure that the bladder is emptying well.  For individuals undergoing open surgery, a catheter is usually required for 1 to 2 weeks.  For individuals with poorly functioining bladder due to long term obstruction, patients may need to undergo intermittent catherization to empty the bladder.  Other risks including injury to the intestines or rectum is extremely rare.

UrologyHealth.org Glossary

intestines: the portion of the alimentary canal extending from the stomach to the anus consisting of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine.

, injury to the urine tubes from the kidneys (ureters), an abnormal connection of the bladder to the intestines (fistula), prolonged urine leakage from the bladder after surgery or infections.