Reconstructive neobladder surgery an option to using a bag for many cancer patients

When Lodi resident Joe Clausi woke up from surgery, the first thing he did was take a deep breath, and peer under the covers.

He was happily surprised. Though there were no guarantees, his surgeon was able to save him the discomfort of having to wear a bag for the rest of his life to collect urine because of an aggressive cancer that required removal of his bladder.

His new “neobladder” was created using a part of his intestine. Except for not having “the urge” one would normally have to go (he has to periodically empty it), he says, everything else pretty much looks and functions the way it always did.

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PHOTO: Joe Clausi, at home in Lodi, received a “neobladder” in a four-hour operation at Holy Name Medical Center last fall. Photographed by Mitsu Yasukawa.