The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The key elements in the system are the kidneys, a pair of fist-sized organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. The kidneys remove excess liquid and wastes from the blood in the form of urine. Kidneys keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood, and produce a hormone that helps to form red blood cells. Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, a sack-like organ in the lower abdomen. Urine is stored in the bladder and emptied through a narrow canal called the urethra.

Urologic symptoms

When parts of the urinary system are not functioning as they should, symptoms can vary dramatically. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe; they can exist or be nonexistent. But keep in mind, if symptoms are present one day and gone the next, that does not necessarily mean the condition, disorder or disease is gone. Some of the typical signs and symptoms of urologic conditions such as bladder cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer or urinary obstruction may include: 1,2

  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • A lump in your abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Pain in your side or lower back
  • Changes in urination (inability, frequency, pain, less output, incontinence)
  • Feeling the need to urinate without results
  • Sensation that the bladder is not completely empty after urinating
  • Trouble starting or holding back urination
  • A weak or interrupted flow
1. “Adult Conditions: Bladder”, American Urological Association Foundation, www.urologyhealth.org
2. National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov.
While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci® System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.