Bulbar urethral ligation for managing persistent urinary incontinence in young men with myelomeningocele

Joshua J. Meeks, Jennifer A. Hagerty, Antonio H. Chaviano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To report our experience with ligation of the bulbar urethra for treating refractory stress incontinence in a selected group of young men with neuropathic bladders secondary to myelomeningocele (MM), in whom primary anti-incontinence procedures had failed. PATIENTS AND METHODS Persistent urethral incontinence leading to chronic perineal skin ulceration can occur in these patients, despite aggressive medical and surgical efforts to decrease wetting by increasing bladder capacity, compliance and outlet resistance. Four young men with MM had bulbar urethral ligation; all had undergone a previous ileocystoplasty and functioning continent catheterizable channels (CCC, three appendicovesicostomies, one Monti procedure). Three patients had primary bladder neck procedures using rectus fascia slings, and secondary attempts were made at urethral bulking in two patients. All patients had persistent incontinence through their native urethra, with dry intervals of <2 h. RESULTS The bulbar urethra was ligated through a small midline perineal incision at 1 year after augmentation, and successfully resolved incontinence in all four patients. All reported satisfaction with their bladder regimen at a mean (range) follow-up of 49 (20-93) months. There were no perineal wound infections. While one patient developed bladder calculi, no patient developed urethral stones, febrile urinary tract infections, fistulae or bladder perforations. CONCLUSIONS We report the results of bulbar urethral ligation for resolution of incontinence in patients with MM in whom anti-incontinence bladder neck procedures had failed. Ligation of the urethra is effective, and can be considered an alternative treatment for refractory urinary incontinence in patients with a functional CCC in whom previous bladder neck-supporting procedures have failed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-224
Number of pages4
JournalBJU International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Bulbar ligation
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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