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J Urol. 2013 Dec;190(6):2216-20. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2013.06.041. Epub 2013 Jun 26.

Padded self-adhesive strap immobilization following newborn bladder exstrophy closure: the Utah straps.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Urology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah. Electronic address:



Several methods have been described for immobilization of the pelvis following bladder exstrophy closure, which can be challenging to manage. We hypothesized that immobilization can be significantly simplified using a modified mermaid wrap with padded Velcro® straps around the thigh and lower leg.


We retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent bladder exstrophy closure in the newborn period at our institution from 1990 through 2010. Patients with cloacal exstrophy and those who underwent delayed closure due to other medical conditions were excluded. We collected data on closure technique, length of stay and complications of the primary closure as outcomes.


A total of 20 boys and 7 girls underwent closure of classic bladder exstrophy. Followup ranged from 2 to 22 years. Seven boys underwent complete primary repair and 13 underwent staged repair. All patients had the legs stabilized with a modified wrap technique using 2 lengths of Velcro straps lined with self-adhering open cell foam pads for 3 weeks. Complications of exstrophy closure included bladder dehiscence in 1 patient (4%) and incisional hernia in 2 (7%). Following complete primary repair urethrocutaneous fistula developed in 2 patients and urethral stricture in 2. Average length of stay for patients without significant prematurity was 15 days.


Padded Velcro strap immobilization simplifies postoperative care, provides secure fixation, decreases length of stay, and enables parents to hold and bond with the child shortly after repair. We advocate this simplified technique, which can be applied with a rate of complications that is comparable to other procedures.


bladder exstrophy; casts; immobilization; surgical; traction

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