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What is a cystotomy?

A cystotomy is a type of surgery done to remove bladder stones. An incision is made to open the abdomen and the bladder to remove the stones. In some cases very small struvite stones can be dissolved with a prescription diet that acidifies the urine pH and restricts certain minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. Dissolution of stones can take one week to 2 months, depending on many factors. Calcium oxalate crystals cannot be dissolved with diet, but certain prescription diets can change the urine environment such that enlargement or new stone formation is less likely.  

If left untreated, bladder stones can grow in size to the point that urination will be difficult or impossible. This is especially problematic if stones pass from the bladder into the urethra and get stuck. Inability to urinate is a life-threatening situation. Other issues associated with bladder stones are chronic pain and increased risk of urinary tract infections.


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