OBJECTIVES: To delineate factors that may predict eventual urinary continence after bladder neck reconstruction (BNR) in the bladder exstrophy population. METHODS: The records of 65 patients who underwent all phases of bladder exstrophy reconstruction at our institution between 1975 and 1997 with greater than 1-year follow-up were reviewed and data analyzed. RESULTS: Fifty patients (77%) are continent day and night and voiding per urethra without need for augmentation or intermittent catheterization. Nine (14%) patients have social continence, dry for more than 3 hours during the day. Two patients required continent diversion for continence after failed BNR. Four patients are completely incontinent. The mean age of BNR was 4 years with a mean and median capacity of 93 and 85 cc (range 45 to 175). Analysis of bladder capacity measurements prior to BNR revealed that patients with a bladder capacity greater than 85 cc median capacity at the time of BNR had better outcomes. No correlation was found between the age of BNR and obtaining eventual continence. The mean time to daytime continence was 14 months (range 4 to 21) and the mean time to nighttime continence was 22 months (range 11 to 33). CONCLUSIONS: Determinants of continence in the bladder exstrophy population are multifactorial. In our experience, 77% of patients are completely dry, day and night, and 91% can achieve social continence, being dry for at least 3 hours. However, with careful evaluation of bladder capacity and bladder growth, urinary continence may be improved in this population with better patient selection.
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