Managing adult urinary incontinence from the congenitally incompetent bladder outlet

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Purpose of review

Treatment of urinary incontinence in adult patients with congenital incompetent bladder outlet (exstrophy-epispadias complex, cloacal anomalies, or neurogenic bladder secondary to myelomeningocele) is a challenging surgical problem. In this review article, we summarize and highlight recent studies in the management of incontinence in this patient population.

Recent findings

The literature regarding management of urinary incontinence in this patient population is scarce. Injection of bulking agents to the bladder neck, artificial/autologous slings, artificial urinary sphincters, bladder neck reconstruction, bladder neck closure, or a combination of these are the cornerstone of management. Augmentation cystoplasty is a major adjunct procedure that can help increase continence rate and success of surgery in select patients. The level of evidence on bladder neck procedures for this patient population is low because of significant limitations, including small sample, heterogeneity of primary diagnosis/surgical techniques, variable definitions of continence, and the retrospective nature of most studies in this field.


Standard options for treatment of urinary incontinence in the congenitally incompetent bladder outlet procedure remain unchanged. There is no single reproducible procedure to accomplish the goal of renal preservation and continence in these patients, and often patients require multiple procedures to achieve continence. Most importantly, the pediatric and adult urologist should continue to work toward achieving a well tolerated and efficient transition of care. There is a need to standardize data acquisition and reporting of outcomes. Although randomized control studies would be ideal, because of the small number of patients with these conditions, this may not be practical. Collaboration and continued discussion among experts in the field is needed to gain a better understanding of the optimal management strategy in this growing patient population.

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