Primary female epispadias: Perineal approach or Kelly repair?

Primary female epispadias encompasses a spectrum of disease, presenting with a variable degree of incontinence. We hypothesized that although perineal urethrocervicoplasty can be a successful first-line procedure in patients with normal bladder, a more radical reconstruction was necessary to achieve continence in cases lying at the most severe end of the spectrum. Our aim was to assess the results of a surgical management using perineal approach in girls with normal bladder capacity, and Kelly radical soft-tissue mobilization (RSTM) in patients with inadequate bladder, based on the assumption that bladder capacity (BC) is a reliable marker of epispadias severity.

Prospective inclusion of incontinent girls with female epispadias referred to a single institution. Patients with normal BC were treated with perineal urethrocervicoplasty (PUCP, group 1). Patients with small bladder underwent RSTM (group 2). Follow-up was at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively, then annually, including physical examination, renal ultrasound at each visit, continence status, and estimation of functional/maximal BC. The main study outcome was continence status at the age of 5 years or later, if postoperative follow-up was >12 months.

From 2006 to 2017, 16 consecutive children were prospectively included in this study, at a median age of 39 months (5-102 months). Seven girls were included in group 1 and underwent PUCP; at the last follow-up, five out of seven were dry by day (4/5 day and night), although three out of five required bladder-neck injection after perineal reconstruction due to stress incontinence. Two patients with persistent incontinence and absence of BC increase after PUCP subsequently underwent RSTM. Eleven patients with low BC (56% [10-94%] of expected BC) were included in group 2 (9 without prior surgery, 2 after PUCP failure). Among the eight evaluable patients, eight out of eight achieved diurnal continence, and 3/8 were fully continent. One girl with obstructive micturition required clean intermittent catheterization.

The traditional approach of female epispadias based on staged reconstruction (urethroplasty followed by bladder-neck reconstruction) raised concerns regarding the risk of non-physiological obstructive micturition. The perineal approach was suggested as an alternative, with reported diurnal continence rates of 60-80%, but less than 50% of nocturnal continence, presumably in relation with limited bladder capacity. In cases selected within the most severe end of the epispadias spectrum, the Kelly RSTM seems to offer excellent continence rates.

A tailored approach to female epispadias, based on perineal reconstruction in favorable cases, and radical soft-tissue mobilization in severe cases, seems to yield good continence outcomes in the long term.

Journal of pediatric urology. 2017 Oct 09 [Epub ahead of print]

Marc-David Leclair, Sébastien Faraj, Thierry Villemagne, Julie Carrouget, Alexis Arnaud, Yves Heloury

Pediatric Urology Department, University Children Hospital, Nantes, France. Electronic address: ., Pediatric Urology Department, University Children Hospital, Nantes, France., Pediatric Urology Department, University Children Hospital, Nantes, France; Pediatric Surgery Department, University Hospital, Tours, France., Pediatric Urology Department, University Children Hospital, Nantes, France; Pediatric Surgery Department, University Hospital, Angers, France., Pediatric Urology Department, University Children Hospital, Nantes, France; Pediatric Surgery Department, University Hospital, Rennes, France., Pediatric Urology Department, University Children Hospital, Nantes, France; Pediatric Urology Department, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

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