Coping with bladder exstrophy: Diverse results from early attempts at functional urinary tract surgery

A. D. Baird, C. Sanders, A. Woolfenden, J. P. Gearhart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To report the long-term surgical outcome in a group of patients with bladder exstrophy treated from 1960 to 1982, and to assess physical health, social integration and sexual function, as attempts at functional closure during the development of this surgery resulted in patients with differing surgical status of the genitourinary organs. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A review of medical record archives revealed 36 patients; of these, seven had died, six were untraceable and six declined to participate, leaving 15 evaluable subjects (seven men and eight women, mean age at follow-up, 35 years). Data were collected from medical records and direct interviews were conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire, after obtaining informed consent. The Short Form-36 (SF-36) v2 Health Survey instrument was used to assess health and well-being. RESULTS: Three patients have retained the use of their bladder, and 11 had initial bladder closure but required (at a mean age of 3.1 years) various urinary diversions. Eight patients had a pelvic osteotomy. Of 27 functioning renal units, 25 are in reasonable to good condition. Six men and six women had genital reconstruction. Four men are capable of penetrative intercourse and ejaculate; six women manage penetrative intercourse and five have orgasms. All patients attended mainstream school and 13 achieved examination success. Nine patients took vocational training and 11 work full-time. Five patients are married and five are in long-term relationships. Two men have achieved three pregnancies and one women has had a child. The mean total SF-36 score (maximum 3600) was 2763 in men and 2235 in women. CONCLUSIONS: Surgery for bladder exstrophy has been developing for more than 40 years and the legacy of early attempts at functional closure is a population of adults who have a diversity of lower urinary tracts, good preservation of renal function overall and acceptable sexual function. They are usually robust, healthy and well-adjusted individuals functioning well in society, often in full-time employment and long-term relationships. Adolescent follow-up must be clearly focused, incorporating a multidisciplinary team approach to facilitate a seamless transition into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1303-1308
Number of pages6
JournalBJU International
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Bladder exstrophy
  • Follow up
  • Function
  • Outcome
  • Reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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