Objective. To determine the frequency and clinical sequelae of significant spinal malformations in children born with classic bladder exstrophy. Patients and methods. All patients evaluated or treated for classic bladder exstrophy at this institution were reviewed retrospectively. Radiographs or reports pertinent to the spine were retrieved and reviewed with a paediatric radiologist and all vertebral abnormalities categorized. Clinical charts of those with spinal anomalies were reviewed to determine any clinical neurological disorders associated with the radiographic findings. Results. Of 423 patients with classic bladder exstrophy who were identified, 299 had radiographs or reports available for adequate review. Of these, 34 (11%) normal variants, e.g. spina bifida occulta and lumbarization or sacralization of vertebrae, were identified. Abnormalities of spinal curvature were identified in eight patients (2.7%), all with uncomplicated scoliosis. Spinal dysraphism was diagnosed in 12 patients (4%) and included myelomeningocele, lipomeningocele, scimitar sacrum, posterior laminal defects in two or more vertebrae, vertebral fusion and hemivertebrae. The one patient with myelomeningocele had clinical neurological dysfunction, giving an overall incidence of 0.3%. Conclusions. Spinal anomalies, excluding normal variants, occur in children born with classic bladder exstrophy at a rate of about 6.7%. The incidence of this association is much less than that for cloacal exstrophy. Although rare, neurological dysfunction can occur in the case of spinal dysraphism. Paediatric urologists and neurologists should be aware of this significant difference between patients with classic bladder and cloacal exstrophy to properly diagnose, evaluate and treat the attendant neurological problems.
- Spinal dysraphism
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