Variants of the exstrophy complex: A single institution experience

Benjamin H. Lowentritt, P. Sean Van Zijl, Dominic Frimberger, Andrew Baird, Yegappan Lakshmanan, John P. Gearhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: Variants of the bladder/cloacal exstrophy complex are rare. Different presentations and subsequent management and outcome are discussed. Materials and Methods: We performed a retrospective review of our database of more than 815 patients with the exstrophy complex. Patients with variants of classic epispadias or bladder or cloacal exstrophy were identified. Anatomical presentation, surgical management, type of continence procedures and final outcome were evaluated. Results: Of the 25 patients with variants 13 were treated primarily at our institution and 12 were referred. Time until primary bladder closure ranged from 1 day to 4 years. Followup after continence procedure ranged from 1 month to 39 years. Seven of the 25 patients are awaiting a continence procedure. Six patients are dry without a continence procedure, of whom 4 have superior vesical fistulas. A total of 11 patients underwent bladder neck reconstruction (BNR), of whom 3 are dry, 2 are dry during the day but are wet at night, 1 had a failed procedure and 5 are dry after continent diversion (CD). One additional patient underwent CD initially and is dry. Referred cases of epispadias with bladder prolapse were not recognized at birth and had delayed closure. Impaired bladder growth or failed BNR required CD in 4 patients, and 2 are awaiting a continence procedure. Skin covered and duplicate exstrophy had comparable outcomes to the classic presentations. Duplicated organs were used for reconstructive procedures. Of the 6 patients with cloacal variant 2 are continent of stool and 2 await a Pena procedure. One of these patients has an ileal stoma and 1 has a colostomy. Conclusions: The initial presentation of exstrophy variants can be confusing, often delaying initial treatment. Superior vesical fistulas permit continence without BNR due to an intact urinary sphincter. Variants such as epispadias with bladder prolapse and duplicate or skin covered exstrophy should be closed at birth with standardized techniques to promote bladder growth for later BNR. These cases are faced with the same long-term problems as the classic presentation. Cloacal variants can present with intact anal innervation, allowing a later Pena procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1732-1737
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Bladder exstrophy
  • Cloaca
  • Epispadias
  • Urogenital abnormalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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