Bladder and Cloacal Exstrophy

The term “exstrophy” means the “turning inside out” of an organ. These conditions occur when a baby’s lower abdomen does not close properly and the bladder or urethra may be open. In the most severe cases (cloacal exstrophy), the bowel also does not form properly either and other abdominal contents are exposed.

After closure of the exstrophic bladder in childhood, the resulting function of the bladder is different for every patient and can change with time. A urologist can work with you to achieve your goals regarding urinary continence, as well as sexual function and fertility.

The Northwestern Medicine Congenital Urology Program provides comprehensive and continuous care for all congenital conditions of the genitourinary system. Our team of experienced urologists has specialized training to facilitate uninterrupted care for all patients with long-term urologic problems diagnosed in childhood.

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