Effect of Prenatal Repair of Myelomeningocele on Urological Outcomes at School Age

J Urol. 2019 Oct;202(4):812-818. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000000334. Epub 2019 Sep 6.


Purpose: We investigated longer term urological outcomes in patients enrolled in the Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS).

Materials and methods: Women who participated in the original trial were asked for consent for followup for their child at age 6 years or older in a single comprehensive study visit to a MOMS center. Participating children underwent urological and radiologic procedures to provide objective evidence of current bladder functioning. Primary urological outcome was defined as any among need for clean intermittent catheterization, vesicostomy, urethral dilatation or augmentation cystoplasty.

Results: A total of 156 children were evaluated, with a mean age of 7.4 years. Overall 62% vs 87% in the prenatal and postnatal surgery groups, respectively, were placed on clean intermittent catheterization (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.58-0.86, p <0.001). Voiding status was significantly different between the groups (p <0.001) as 24% in the prenatal group vs 4% in the postnatal group (RR 5.8, 95% CI 1.8-18.7) were reported to be voiding volitionally. Augmentation cystoplasty, vesicostomy and urethral dilation did not differ between the 2 groups. Aside from a larger post-void residual urodynamic catheterization volume, there were no other statistical differences in videourodynamic data or findings on renal/bladder ultrasound.

Conclusions: Prenatal closure of myelomeningocele resulted in less reported clean intermittent catheterization at school age and the mechanism for this is unclear. Although most children are in diapers or on clean intermittent catheterization, parental reports showed children who underwent prenatal closure may be more likely to void volitionally than the postnatal group. Despite these findings, urological outcomes alone should not be the sole impetus to perform in utero closure in children with spina bifida.

Keywords: meningomyelocele; postnatal care; prenatal care; spinal dysraphism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Fetal Therapies / methods*
  • Fetal Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intermittent Urethral Catheterization / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Meningomyelocele / complications
  • Meningomyelocele / diagnosis
  • Meningomyelocele / surgery*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Postnatal Care / methods*
  • Postnatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder / innervation
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology
  • Urination Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Urination Disorders / etiology
  • Urination Disorders / therapy*