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Mitrofanoff procedure (catheterisable urinary stoma)

Patient information A-Z

What is the evidence base for this information?

This leaflet includes advice from consensus panels, the British Association of Urological Surgeons, the Department of Health and evidence based sources; it is, therefore, a reflection of the best practice in the UK. It is intended to supplement any advice you may already have been given by your Urologist or Nurse Specialist as well as the surgical team at Addenbrooke’s. Alternative treatments are outlined below and can be discussed in more detail with your Urologist or Nurse Specialist.

What does the procedure involve?

This is a procedure to create a channel (for catheterisation) between the skin and either the bladder or a urinary reservoir. This may be done in conjunction with another procedure (either enlarging the bladder with a bowel patch or creating a urinary reservoir). This information sheet should be read in conjunction with the relevant information sheet for any other procedure.

What are the alternatives to this procedure?

Use of a catheter via the urethra (water pipe) or a urinary stoma with a bag.

What should I expect before the procedure?

You will usually be admitted on the same day as your surgery. You will normally undergo pre-assessment on the day of your clinic or an appointment for pre-assessment will be made from clinic, to assess your general fitness, to screen for the carriage of MRSA and to perform some baseline investigations. After admission, you will be seen by members of the medical team which may include the consultant, specialist registrar, junior doctor and the urology nurse practitioner.

You will be asked not to eat or drink for six hours before surgery and, immediately before the operation, you may be give a pre-medication by the anaesthetist which will make you dry-mouthed and pleasantly sleepy.

You will be given an injection under the skin of a drug (dalteparin) which, together with the help of elasticated stockings provided by the ward, will help prevent thrombosis (clots) in the veins of your legs.

Please be sure to inform your urologist in advance of your surgery if you have any of the following:

  • an artificial heart valve
  • a coronary artery stent
  • a heart pacemaker or defibrillator
  • an artificial joint
  • an artificial blood vessel graft
  • a neurosurgical shunt
  • any other implanted foreign body
  • a prescription for warfarin, aspirin, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban, edoxaban or clopidogrel, ticagrelor or blood thinning medication
  • a previous or current MRSA infection
  • high risk of variant CJD (if you have received a corneal transplant, a neurosurgical dural transplant or previous injections of human derived growth hormone)

What happens during the procedure?

A full general anaesthetic (where you will be asleep throughout the procedure) will be used.

Appendix isolated on its own blood supply
Appendix isolated on its own blood supply

The channel will be created using the appendix, a short segment of small intestine (ileum) or a combination of both. It will be joined to the skin by a flap fashioned into a small pit, rather like a second umbilicus (navel).

What happens immediately after the procedure?

You may experience discomfort for a few days after the procedure, but painkillers will be given to you on the ward and later, to take home. Absorbable stitches are normally used on the skin flap and these do not require removal.

This photographs shows the Mitrofanoff catheter, a suprapubic catheter and a drain
This photographs shows the Mitrofanoff catheter, a suprapubic catheter and a drain

Abdomen with drains and catheters following completion of the procedure a catheter will be inserted into the channel (for about three weeks), together with one or two catheters into the bladder or urinary reservoir (also for up to three weeks), to promote drainage and to allow the suturing to heal up completely. You will probably be able to go home once you are mobile, with the catheters in place, having been taught how to manage them. You will be re-admitted three weeks after the operation for removal of these catheters and to be taught how to pass a catheter into the Mitrofanoff stoma.

The average hospital stay is 7-10 days.

Are there any side effects?

Most procedures have a potential for side effects. You should be reassured that, although all these complications are well recognised, the majority of patients do not suffer any problems after an urological procedure.

Please use the check boxes to tick off individual items when you are happy that they have been discussed to your satisfaction:

Common (greater than one in 10)

  • The channel may become narrowed, requiring either a catheter to be left for about two weeks or, possibly, further surgery to correct the problem
  • The channel may not hold urine without leakage, leading to further surgery to correct the problem

Occasional (between one in 10 and one in 50)

  • The catheter placed after surgery may fall out, possibly requiring a further operation to replace it or to re-fashion the channel
  • The skin or bowel from which the channel is formed may die, requiring further surgery to re-fashion it

Rare (less than one in 50)

  • Anaesthetic or cardiovascular problems possibly requiring intensive care admission (including chest infection, pulmonary embolus, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, heart attack and death)
  • Scarring of the bowel requiring further surgery

What should I expect when I get home?

When you leave hospital, you will be given a discharge summary of your admission. This holds important information about your inpatient stay and your operation. If, in the first few weeks after your discharge, you need to call your GP for any reason or to attend another hospital, please take this summary with you to allow the doctors to see details of your treatment. This is particularly important if you need to consult another doctor within a few days of your discharge.

It will be at least six weeks before full healing occurs. You may return to work when you are comfortable enough and your GP is satisfied with your progress.

What else should I look out for?

If there is any difficulty passing a catheter into the Mitrofanoff channel, please contact your named nurse.

If you experience fever or vomiting, especially if associated with unexpected pain in your abdomen, you should contact your GP immediately for advice.

Are there any other important points?

A follow-up outpatient appointment will be arranged for you some six to eight weeks after the operation. You will receive this appointment either whilst you are on the ward or shortly after you get home.

Driving after surgery

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit to drive following your surgery.

You do not normally need to notify the DVLA unless you have a medical condition that will last for longer than three months after your surgery and may affect your ability to drive. You should, however, check with your insurance company before returning to driving. Your doctors will be happy to provide you with advice on request.

Privacy and Dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high tech equipment and/ or specialist one to one care is required.

Hair removal before an operation

For most operations, you do not need to have the hair around the site of the operation removed. However, sometimes the healthcare team need to see or reach your skin and if this is necessary they will use an electric hair clipper with a single-use disposable head, on the day of the surgery. Please do not shave the hair yourself or use a razor to remove hair, as this can increase the risk of infection. Your healthcare team will be happy to discuss this with you.


NICE clinical guideline No 74: Surgical site infection (October 2008); Department of Health: High Impact Intervention No 4: Care bundle to preventing surgical site infection (August 2007)

Is there any research being carried out in this field at Addenbrooke’s Hospital?

There is no specific research in this area at the moment but all operative procedures performed in the department are subject to rigorous audit at a monthly audit and clinical governance meeting.

Who can I contact for more help or information?

Oncology nurses

Uro-oncology nurse specialist

01223 586748

Bladder cancer nurse practitioner (haematuria, chemotherapy and BCG)

01223 274608

Prostate cancer nurse practitioner

01223 274608 or 216897 or bleep 154-548

Surgical care practitioner

01223 348590 or 256157 or bleep 154-351

Non-oncology nurses

Urology nurse practitioner (incontinence, urodynamics, catheter patients)

01223 274608 or 586748 or bleep 157-237

Urology nurse practitioner (stoma care)

01223 349800

Urology nurse practitioner (stone disease)

01223 349800 or bleep 152-879

Patient Advice and Liaison Centre (PALS)


+44 (0)1223 216756

PatientLine: *801 (from patient bedside telephones only)

E mail:

Mail: PALS, Box No 53

Addenbrooke's Hospital

Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ

Chaplaincy and multi faith community

Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217769

E mail:

Mail: The Chaplaincy, Box No 105

Addenbrooke's Hospital

Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ

MINICOM System ("type" system for the hard-hearing)

Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217589

Access office (travel, parking and security information)

Telephone: +44 (0)1223 596060

What should I do with this leaflet?

Thank you for taking the trouble to read this patient information leaflet. If you wish to sign it and retain a copy for your own records, please do so below.

If you would like a copy of this leaflet to be filed in your hospital records for future reference, please let your urologist or specialist nurse know. If you do, however, decide to proceed with the scheduled procedure, you will be asked to sign a separate consent form which will be filed in your hospital notes and you will, in addition, be provided with a copy of the form if you wish.

I have read this patient information leaflet and I accept the information it provides.


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Other formats

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151