A highly select group of 31 patients presenting with urinary incontinence failed to respond to conservative management and were found to have unstable bladders and spina bifida occulta. After thorough evaluation they were suspected of having neurogenic bladder dysfunction possibly due to a tethered cord. Following division of the filum terminale daytime incontinence resolved in 72%, urodynamic detrusor hyperreflexia disappeared in 59% and bladder compliance improved in 66% of the patients. The operation was well tolerated and did not result in any neurological complications. The clinical, radiological and urodynamic characteristics of these patients before and after treatment are reported.