The significance of the open bladder neck associated with pelvic fracture urethral distraction defects.
PURPOSE: As a result of pelvic fracture urethral distraction defects, urinary continence relies predominantly on intact bladder neck function. Hence, when cystoscopy and/or cystography reveals an open bladder neck before urethroplasty, the probability of postoperative urinary incontinence may be significant. Unresolved issues are the necessity, the timing and the type of bladder neck repair. We report the outcome of various therapeutic options in patients with pelvic fracture urethral distraction defects and open bladder neck. We also attempt to identify prognostic factors of incontinence before urethroplasty. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 15 patients with a mean age of 30 years in whom an open bladder neck was identified before posterior urethroplasty between January 1981 and October 1997. RESULTS: Of the 15 patients 6 were continent and 8 were incontinent postoperatively. One patient underwent artificial urethral sphincter implantation simultaneously with pelvic fracture urethral distraction defect repair and was dry postoperatively without sphincter activation. Average bladder neck and prostatic urethral opening on the cystourethrogram before urethroplasty was significantly longer in incontinent (1.68 cm.) than in continent (0.9 cm.) patients. Of the 8 patients who were incontinent 6 underwent bladder neck reconstruction, 1 artificial urinary sphincter and 1 periurethral collagen implant. Five patients with bladder neck reconstruction are totally continent and 1 requires 1 pad daily. The patient who underwent collagen implant requires 2 pads daily and the patient who received an artificial urethral sphincter has minor urge leakage. CONCLUSIONS: Open bladder neck before urethroplasty may herald postoperative incontinence which may be predicted by radiographic and cystoscopic features. Evaluation of the risk of postoperative incontinence may be valuable, and eventually guide the necessity and timing of anti-incontinence surgery, although our preference remains to manage the pelvic fracture urethral distraction defects and bladder neck problem sequentially. Bladder neck reconstruction provides good postoperative continence rates and is our technique of choice.
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