Bladder Exstrophy

The cloacal membrane normally ruptures leaving only the urogenital sinus (the urethra and vaginal introitus) open. If mesoderm (which will become the abdominal muscles) has not separated the ectoderm from the endoderm between the allantois and the genital tubercle, rupture of the cloacal membrane leaves the urethra and bladder open as a plate of mucosa on the lower abdomen. In bladder exstrophy, the rupture occurs after the uro-rectal septum has separated the urogenital sinus from the hind gut. What happens if the cloacal membrane ruptures before the uro-rectal septum has divided the bladder from the hind gut? See answer.

See an axial plane movie of bladder exstrophy.

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©David A. Hatch, M.D., 1996