Urachal anomalies: Defining the best diagnostic modality

Bartley G. Cilento, Stuart B. Bauer, Alan B. Retik, Craig A Peters, Anthony Atala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Objectives. Urachal abnormalities are uncommon and the literature is primarily comprised of case reports. Conclusions regarding the presentation and diagnosis of these abnormalities may be elucidated by reviewing a large experience. Methods. The records of 45 patients with urachal abnormalities in the pediatric age group were reviewed from 1970 to 1997. This included 24 boys and 21 girls with an age range from 1 day to 20 years (average 4.0 years). The presenting complaint was periumbilical discharge in 19 patients (42%), umbilical cyst or mass in 15 (33%), abdominal or periumbilical pain in 10 (22%), and dysuria in 1 (2%). The diagnosis consisted of a urachal sinus in 22 children (49%), a urachal cyst in 16 (36%), and a patent urachus in 7 (15%). Various radiographic studies were used to establish the diagnosis. Results. Patients with a urachal sinus had 16 voiding cystourethrograms performed (only 1 diagnostic), 9 sinograms (all diagnostic), 8 ultrasounds (4 diagnostic), and 1 excretory urogram (normal). Those with a urachal cyst had 8 voiding cystourethrograms (1 diagnostic), 5 excretory urograms (all normal), 4 ultrasounds (all diagnostic), and 1 computed tomography scan (diagnostic). Children with a patent urachus had 2 excretory urograms (both diagnostic), 1 voiding cystourethrogram (diagnostic), and 2 ultrasounds (normal). One baby with a patent urachus was diagnosed prenatally during ultrasound screening. The diagnosis was made by history and physical examination alone in 5 children and at the time of surgery in 1. Treatment consisted of surgical excision of the urachal abnormality with a cuff of bladder in 22 children, surgical excision without a bladder cuff in 22, incision and drainage of a urachal cyst (1%), and laparoscopic excision of a patent urachus with a bladder cuff in another (1%). There were three wound infections postoperatively. None developed any long-term sequelae. Conclusions. The diagnosis of urachal abnormalities can be made with certainty if a good physical examination and the appropriate radiographic test are performed. A patient who presents with periumbilical drainage should have a sinogram performed, which should be diagnostic for both a urachal sinus and a patent urachus. Any child who presents with a periumbilical mass should have an ultrasound performed, which should be diagnostic for a urachal cyst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-122
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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