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What is bladder exstrophy?

Bladder exstrophy is a rare congenital anomaly where the anterior wall of the bladder and the abdominal wall do not develop properly. This results in the bladder being exposed on the body’s surface, outside the abdominal cavity. This condition can significantly affect bladder function and normal urination, as well as sexual function and reproductive health as the child grows.


The diagnosis of bladder exstrophy is usually made immediately after birth during a physical examination, where the exposed bladder can be visually observed. In some cases, the condition can be diagnosed through ultrasound during the prenatal period. Detailed monitoring and assessment by a team of specialists, including a pediatrician, urologist, and surgeon, are crucial for planning adequate treatment.


Treatment of bladder exstrophy involves complete reconstruction to enable proper bladder functioning and improve aesthetic appearance. Surgical procedures are usually carried out in several stages. The first stage is the surgical closure of the bladder and abdominal wall, which is usually done within a few days of birth. Subsequent reconstruction of the urethra and genitals, usually planned after the first year of the child’s life. The aim of these operations is to improve urination function and, in male children, aesthetic reconstruction of the penis. In some cases, additional surgeries may be possible in later childhood or adolescence to further improve bladder functions and appearance.
In addition to surgical interventions, an important aspect of treatment includes long-term monitoring and support in managing bladder function, often through catheterization or other methods that help maintain the bladder in an optimal state. Psychological support is also an important component of treatment, given the potential challenges patients face during growth and development.