Significance of spina bifida occulta in children with diurnal enuresis

J Urol. 1994 Aug;152(2 Pt 2):815-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)32718-0.


We reviewed retrospectively 456 patients with diurnal enuresis to determine the relationship between spina bifida occulta and attainment of continence. Of these patients 127 had undergone x-rays of the spine and 48 children (48%) had spina bifida occulta. The clinical course of these patients was compared to 79 enuretic children with normal spine films. All patients were initially treated with a timed voiding program and 28 with persistent enuresis were given anticholinergic medication. Findings on urodynamic studies were similar for both groups. Uninhibited bladder contractions were found in the majority of patients and 2 children in each group had hypertonic filling curves. Of 10 children with spina bifida occulta magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound of the spine revealed lipoma and tethering of the cord in 1. Mean followup for both groups was 3 years. The outcome for enuretic children with spina bifida occulta was comparable to those with normal spine x-rays. The majority of patients had resolution of the enuresis with conservative management. Spinal ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging may be warranted in those children with abnormal neurological findings on examination or hypertonic filling curves, or those who fail to respond to medical treatment. However, neurosurgical intervention to achieve continence appears necessary in only a small percentage of enuretic children with spina bifida occulta.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Enuresis / etiology*
  • Enuresis / physiopathology
  • Enuresis / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spina Bifida Occulta / complications*
  • Spina Bifida Occulta / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology