Delayed complete repair of exstrophy with testosterone treatment: An alternative to avoid glans complications?

Antonio Zaccara, Mario De Gennaro, Antonio Di Lazzaro, Irma Capolupo, Patrizia Bozza, Angela Ragni, Pietro Bagolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Since 1999, complete primary repair of exstrophy has represented a valid alternative in the treatment of exstrophy patients, offering one- stage reconstruction for all components of this malformation in newborns. The vast majority of cases are currently approached within 48/72 h of life, and risk of vascular injury to penile glans and/or corpora has been reported with increased frequency with this procedure. We report our initial experience with a delayed approach to complete repair, with bladder plate left intact and taken care at home by the parents, while awaiting for the patient to reach adequate weight. Delayed approach also enabled us to preoperatively stimulate phallic size with testosterone, a treatment which was so far confined only to redo or failed cases. Methods: Six male exstrophy patients were treated over a three-year (2007-2009) period. After initial workup, newborns were discharged home with bladder plate taken care by the parents. A weight of 4,500 g was arbitrarily deemed satisfactory for surgery. While at home, patients underwent preoperative testosterone stimulation (testosterone enanthate, four biweekly administrations of 100 mg/per square meter body surface). In each case biopsies of bladder mucosa were taken at time of surgery. Complications, age at surgery, increases in phallic size were extracted from clinical and surgical case notes. Results: Weight at surgery ranged from 4,510 to 5,600 g. Age range was 43-91 days. Mean increase in phallic size after testosterone stimulation was 8.3 mm. Three complications were observed: two were suprapubic fistulas, of these, one closed spontaneously and one required surgery subsequently. In one fascial dehiscence emergency closure was needed. Hypospadias occurred in all patients. All histologic specimens demonstrated a mildly inflamed bladder mucosa. Conclusions: Delayed repair of bladder exstrophy allows to approach patients who have reached adequate weight and stabilization; if adequately cared for bladder plate shows minimal inflammation at surgery and can be managed by the parents at home. Deferring surgery also offers the advantages of preoperative testosterone stimulation, promotion of mother-baby relationship as well as of transfer to Centers with adequate experience and proficiency in all aspects of bladder exstrophy reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-421
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Bladder exstrophy
  • Complete repair
  • Genital reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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