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J Urol. 2006 Oct;176(4 Pt 2):1831-3; discussion 1834.

Urethral dilation as treatment for neurogenic bladder.

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  • 1Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



We documented the change in bladder physiology and clinical outcomes after urethral dilation for managing neurogenic bladder.


Female patients with neurogenic bladder were identified who underwent urethral dilation due to failure to empty at low pressure or upper tract changes. Urethral dilation was performed using curved sounds to 36Fr (range 18Fr to 36Fr). Clinical charts were reviewed to document urodynamics, infection rates, symptomatology, vesicoureteral reflux and upper tract dilatation before and after dilation.


A total of 19 children underwent urethral dilation a mean of 2 times. Mean age at first dilation was 19.3 months. Mean followup was 34.9 months. The indication for dilation was high detrusor leak point pressure in 16 children. The remaining children had recurrent infections (1), poor compliance (1) and bladder spasms (1). Clinical manifestations of increased detrusor leak point pressure in 16 children were vesicoureteral reflux in 11, upper tract dilatation in 9 and recurrent infections in 3. Long-standing improvement occurred in 12 of 16 patients with increased detrusor leak point pressure, in 0 of 1 with infection, in 0 of 1 with poor compliance and in 1 of 1 with bladder spasms. Overall improvement was noted in 13 of 19 cases (68%). Vesicoureteral reflux was identified in 14 of 19 patients. Improvement was seen in 6 of 14 cases, including complete resolution in 5 and improvement in 1. Hydronephrosis was seen in 11 of 19 patients with improvement in 7, including resolution in 1 and improvement in 6. Only 6 children required further surgical intervention, that is vesicostomy in 2 and reimplantation in 4.


Urethral dilation is effective for lowering detrusor leak point pressure in children with neurogenic bladder and for improving upper tract dilatation and vesicoureteral reflux. This procedure may prevent the need for more complicated surgical intervention. It should be investigated further in well designed, prospective studies.

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