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The impact of continence - reviewed fourteen years later


In 1994, a qualitative study was conducted on the impact of surgically acquired continence in 17 young people with spina bifida. All had undergone the dual procedures of augmentation cystoplasty and insertion of artificial urinary sphincter.

In structured interviews, the study assessed changes in quality of life in a number of categories: ability to live independently of carers, ability to undertake paid work or study, ability to develop friendships, ability to enjoy sexual relationships, ability to enjoy wearing a greater variety of clothing.

In all categories a positive impact was demonstrated by the participants becoming continent of urine.

The present paper reviews what has happened to the urinary continence status of this series of patients over the 14 years since the original study.

Materials and methods

The review was conducted by examination of the patients' records.


Of 17 participants: 15 are dry: two are respectively, one wet and one damp and neither wishes further surgery, six are dry from the original surgery. The other nine, participants have undergone between one and seven procedures to remain dry.


Surgically acquired continence is effective long term both with and without additional procedures.

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Correspondence to Lissa Higgins.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Higgins, L., Reid, S. The impact of continence - reviewed fourteen years later. Fluids Barriers CNS 6 (Suppl 2), S37 (2009).

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