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Congenital Bladder Anomalies

Overview :

During fetal development, folds enclose tissues and organs and eventually fuse at the edges to form sealed compartments. Both in the front and the back, folds eventually become major body structures. In the back, the entire spinal column folds in like a pipe wrapped in a pillow. In the front, the entire lower urinary system is folded in.

  • Exstrophy of the bladder represents a failure of this folding process to complete itself, so the organs form with more or less of their front side missing and open to the outside. At the same time, the front of the pelvic bone is widely separated. The abdominal wall is open, too. In fact, the defect often extends all the way to the penis in the male or splits the clitoris in the female.
  • A congenital bladder diverticulum represents an area of weakness in the bladder wall through which extrudes some of the lining of the bladder. (A small balloon squeezed in a fist will create a diverticula-like effect between the fingers.) Bladder diverticula may be multiple, and they often occur at the ureterovesical junction—the entrance of the upper urinary system into the bladder. In this location, they may cause urine to reflux into the ureter and kidney, leading to infection and possible kidney damage.

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