Safety and efficacy of spica casts for immobilization following initial bladder closure in classic bladder exstrophy

Angela M. Arlen, Christopher S. Cooper, Jose Morcuende, J. Christopher Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: Pelvic immobilization constitutes a necessary component of successful bladder exstrophy closure. The efficacy of spica cast immobilization has been reported as markedly inferior to external fixation, with success rates below 25%. We reviewed our experience with spica cast immobilization following bladder closure. Patients and methods: We retrospectively reviewed classic bladder exstrophy patients undergoing bladder closure with spica cast immobilization. Success of bladder closure and complications related to immobilization were noted, as were age, type of closure, use of osteotomy, duration of immobilization, and number of cast changes. Results: Fifteen patients underwent bladder closure (10 staged, 5 complete repair) at a median age of 4 days (range 1-6) and 14 were immobilized with spica casts. Initial closures were successful in 11 (73%). Success rates were higher in patients undergoing osteotomies (6/7, 86%) compared to those without osteotomies (5/8, 63%). No patients immobilized with spica casts developed serious complications related to their immobilization. Minor skin breakdown occurred in 3/14 patients (21%). Median time of immobilization was 39 days (range 22-48). Conclusions: Spica casts are a safe, effective method of postoperative immobilization and are associated with a low risk of cast-related complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-459
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • bladder exstrophy
  • immobilization
  • osteotomy
  • spica cast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology


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