Purpose: Successful initial surgical management of bladder exstrophy does not always lead to continence. We evaluated the ultrastructure of the exstrophic bladder using electron microscopy (EM) at various stages of reconstruction to determine whether morphology could correlate with the potential for continence. Materials and Methods: Bladder specimens obtained from 32 patients undergoing various stages of exstrophy reconstruction were evaluated by EM. Specimens were obtained at primary newborn closure (group 1-10), reclosure following failure (group 2-2), bladder neck reconstruction (group 3-9) and augmentation cystoplasty (group 4-11). Evaluation was performed by a single anatomist with experience with EM. Biopsies were separated into those with good, intermediate or poor ultrastructural parameters and then correlated clinically. Results: In group 1, 4 children had good and 2 had intermediate parameters. All showed increased bladder volumes at followup. Four patients had poor parameters and poor bladder growth. The 2 group 2 children had poor parameters and bladder growth. In group 3, 7 of 9 patients had good and 1 had intermediate parameters. Eight of the 9 patients are doing well. Only 3 of the 11 group 4 children had good parameters and an additional 2 had intermediate parameters. Conclusions: Ultrastructural evaluation can identify changes in the bladder that may portend a poor prognosis for eventual continence. Although the correlation was good at bladder closure, some patients with good parameters still had failed reconstruction. Since this is a small study, we continue to recommend reconstruction in all patients who have an adequate bladder template.
- Bladder exstrophy
- Reconstructive surgical procedures
- Urinary incontinence
ASJC Scopus subject areas