Most individuals with Spina Bifida have difficulty with bladder control and associated difficulties; incontinence and frequent urinary tract infections. Fortunately, many urologic problems can be prevented with consistent and regular urologic care, medications, surgery or other means. It is very important to establish a regular appointment schedule with a urologist experienced with the challenges associated with Spina Bifida.
Urologic Testing – A guideline:
Renal Ultrasounds: A simple, painless test, which involves taking pictures of the kidneys, ureters and bladder with sound waves. This test can show any swelling or scarring in the kidneys or ureters and should be performed every 4 months until 1 year of age, and then annually after that. Frequency of testing will be dependent upon the result of previous scans and any ongoing difficulties.
Urodynamic Testing: A test done under x-ray used to measure the functioning of the bladder wall and spasticity within the bladder. The test involves passing a catheter through the urethra into the bladder and filling the bladder with water. As water fills the bladder, pressure readings are measured. This test should be performed on all newborns and then selectively thereafter. Frequency of testing will be dependent upon issues such as recurrent urinary tract infections, incontinence or changes on the ultrasound. Urodynamic studies might also be completed if there is a suspicion of tethered cord or prior to any major reconstructive surgery. It is recommended baseline studies be performed on all children with Spina Bifida.
Keeping the urinary track healthy through preventive measures is of vital importance. Diagnostic testing will monitor the health of the urinary track and identify problems quickly when performed on a routine basis. This guideline is dependent upon the results of previous scans and any ongoing difficulties.
Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history. Persons with Spina Bifida are urged to discuss their particular symptoms and situations with their personal physician.
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