Nerve Rerouting Treatment for Neurogenic Bladder in Spina Bifida

2014-08-27 03:14:52 | BioPortfolio


The goal of this study is to evaluate a surgical procedure (operation) that reroutes lumbar to sacral nerves in the spinal column to improve the bladder's ability to empty properly in patients born with Spina Bifida.


Spina Bifida (a congenital defect of the spinal cord), causes nerve damage and a loss of sensation and muscle function below the waist resulting in bowel and bladder dysfunction. Patients cannot urinate or are constantly wet, and this continues throughout life causing major quality of life and health problems. Clean intermittent catheterization (draining urine from the bladder with a tube) is usually needed to empty the bladder properly. Medications are routinely required to alleviate high urinary tract pressures that can cause irreversible kidney damage, where dialysis or kidney transplant is the only way to sustain life.

Dr. Xiao, a Chinese urologist, developed a novel procedure to connect a functioning, healthy lumbar spinal nerve to the sacral nerve that controls the bladder. Hundreds of these procedures have been done in China with good results. The end result is the creation of a new reflex where the bladder can be emptied by scratching or stimulating the skin (over the hip or thigh) supplied by that spinal nerve root. He has reported that in 92 SCI patients, 88% regained bladder control within one year after the nerve rerouting surgery and in 110 children with spina bifida, reported success was 87% at one year. However, in China rigorous follow up is challenging, therefore much is still unknown about how the nerves regenerate post surgery, complications and results occurring in the first year in particular, and the potential role that central nervous system remodeling may play in achieving successful outcomes. Beaumont urologists, in collaboration with Dr. Xiao, were the first in the US to perform this surgery on children with spina bifida. Our preliminary data are very promising, and in 9 subjects at 12 months post procedure, 7/9 subjects could void either voluntarily or by stimulating the new reflex mechanism.

This current project aims to expand upon our pilot experience to conduct a larger and more rigorous study to establish the safety and effectiveness of the proposed somatic-autonomic reflex pathway procedure in gaining bladder and bowel control in patients with spina bifida. We will also collaborate with and train investigators at another site(s) to determine the training needed to achieve similar safety and effectiveness outcomes, and evaluate possible methods to stimulate the new reflex to improve bladder emptying. Achieving the aims outlined in this multicenter proposal will help firmly establish the procedure as safe and effective, and revolutionize the treatment of bladder and bowel dysfunction in patients with spina bifida in the US.

Study Design

Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Spina Bifida


Nerve Rerouting


Emory University Hospital/Egleston Children's Hosp at Emory U, Inc. d/b/a Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston
United States


Not yet recruiting


William Beaumont Hospitals

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:14:52-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Congenital defects of closure of one or more vertebral arches, which may be associated with malformations of the spinal cord, nerve roots, congenital fibrous bands, lipomas, and congenital cysts. These malformations range from mild (e.g., SPINA BIFIDA OCCULTA) to severe, including rachischisis where there is complete failure of neural tube and spinal cord fusion, resulting in exposure of the spinal cord at the surface. Spinal dysraphism includes all forms of spina bifida. The open form is called SPINA BIFIDA CYSTICA and the closed form is SPINA BIFIDA OCCULTA. (From Joynt, Clinical Neurology, 1992, Ch55, p34)

A form of spinal dysraphism associated with a protruding cyst made up of either meninges (i.e., a MENINGOCELE) or meninges in combination with spinal cord tissue (i.e., a MENINGOMYELOCELE). These lesions are frequently associated with spinal cord dysfunction, HYDROCEPHALUS, and SYRINGOMYELIA. (From Davis et al., Textbook of Neuropathology, 2nd ed, pp224-5)

Hereditary disorder consisting of multiple basal cell carcinomas, odontogenic keratocysts, and multiple skeletal defects, e.g., frontal and temporoparietal bossing, bifurcated and splayed ribs, kyphoscoliosis, fusion of vertebrae, and cervicothoracic spina bifida. Genetic transmission is autosomal dominant.

A common congenital midline defect of fusion of the vertebral arch without protrusion of the spinal cord or meninges. The lesion is also covered by skin. L5 and S1 are the most common vertebrae involved. The condition may be associated with an overlying area of hyperpigmented skin, a dermal sinus, or an abnormal patch of hair. The majority of individuals with this malformation are asymptomatic although there is an increased incidence of tethered cord syndrome and lumbar SPONDYLOSIS. (From Joynt, Clinical Neurology, 1992, Ch55, p34)

A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (L4 to S3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the TIBIAL NERVE and the PERONEAL NERVE.

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