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Vesicostomy Care

How Do You Care for a Vesicostomy?

A vesicostomy is an opening created by the doctor between the abdominal wall and the bladder. This helps prevent harm to the kidneys. This surgery is done in the operating room. The opening looks like a small slit with pink tissue all around it. Urine drains constantly from this opening, and the child will need to wear a diaper, pull-ups or an incontinence pad, such as Poise pads. A vesicostomy is a temporary treatment.

This surgery is a needed step for some children to help prevent urinary tract infections and/or harm to the kidney. Most children who need a vesicostomy are young (under 5 years old), but sometimes older children or teenagers need this surgery temporarily.

Caring for a Vesicostomy at Home

The opening of the vesicostomy will slowly close if it is not stretched at regular intervals. Stretching (also called dilating) the opening with a catheter one to two times a day is needed. It is best to do this at the same time each day. It can be normal for a very small amount of bleeding to occur from the stoma during stretching. Urine should drain constantly from the opening.

Once in a while, the skin around the vesicostomy may become red, irritated and sore. If this happens, your doctor may give you a special medicine or ointment to treat the skin.

Dilating (Stretching) a Vesicostomy

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Clean the area around the vesicostomy with Betadine or BZK in a circle like motion. Move from the opening out. Clean with three different swabs or wipes.
  3. Apply a water-soluble lubricant to the tip of the catheter.
  4. Insert the catheter ½ to 1 inch into the opening of the vesicostomy.
  5. Turn the catheter back and forth
  6. Remove the catheter and clean the opening to remove the Betadine or BZK from the skin.

Call Your Child's Doctor If:

  • Urine does not drain from the opening for two hours
  • The skin around the opening looks red, crusty, irritated or infected
  • You are unable to pass the catheter into the opening
  • Tissue is coming out from the vesicostomy opening
  • The child complains of pain
  • There is blood in the urine (more than the normal amount that occurs with stretching of the vesicostomy)
  • Your child has a fever higher than 101.5°F (38.6°C)

Last Updated 07/2021

Reviewed By Lisa Smith, RN

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For more information or to request an appointment, contact the Division of Urology.

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