What is a Mitrofanoff?

A Mitrofanoff involves a surgical procedure where a channel is created into the bladder, where a catheter can be inserted to drain urine. This is instead of urine leaving the body. It’s named after the first surgeon to ever perform the procedure back in 1980 – Dr Paul Mitrofanoff. Undergoing this procedure eliminates the need to wear a pouch over the site, like you would if you had a urostomy.

The channel which is surgically created uses tissue from the appendix or bowel and a valve is created where the channel meets the bladder. This is to prevent the leakage of urine.

Why do I need a Mitrofanoff?

There are many reasons why a Mitrofanoff may be necessary. It can be indicated to replace a damaged, absent or structurally abnormal urethra in the following instances:

–          Multiple Sclerosis

–          Spinal cord injury

–          Congenital conditions which affect the urethra

–          Removal of the urethra due to cancer

There are various other indications for the creation of a Mitrofanoff.

What will it look like on my abdomen?

The site is quite small and is similar in appearance to a navel (or belly button)!

Are there any reasons why this procedure might not be right for me?

A certain level of manual dexterity is required in order to catheterise a Mitrofanoff. This is achieved using an intermittent catheter, which is inserted when the bladder needs to be drained, and removed by the individual afterwards. You’ll also need regular post-op follow-ups. There are a couple of alternatives to this procedure. One is having a long term urethral or suprapubic catheter. Another alternative is having a urostomy (or urinary diversion) where urine leaves the body via a stoma on the abdomen and collects in a urostomy bag attached around the stoma.

Will I feel any pain catheterising my Mitrofanoff?

Performing ISC with a Mitrofanoff shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Your specialist nurse will provide you with plenty of guidance on how to do this correctly, so you can minimise your risk of trauma and infection.