Gracilis urethromyoplasty - an autologous urinary sphincter for neurologically impaired patients with stress incontinence

Michael B. Chancellor, Robert D. Hong, David A. Rivas, Toyohiko Watanabe, Julie Ann Crewalk, Ivan Bourgeois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose : To investigate the effect of a neurovascularly intact gracilis muscle urethral wrap, to be used to restore urinary continence as a transposed urinary sphincter graft, in patients with neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction. Methods: Five neurologically impaired men with a denervated and damaged urinary sphincter mechanisms were treated. The etiology of sphincteric insufficiency included sphincter denervation in three patients, external sphincterotomy in one, and urethral trauma due to a chronic indwelling catheter in one. All patients underwent gracilis urethromyoplasty sphincter reconstruction. Two patients also underwent concomitant ileocystoplasty and one patient ileocystostomy because of poor bladder compliance and a bladder capacity of < 200 ml. Results: The gracilis urethromyoplasty functioned as a new autologous sphincter with follow-ups ranging from 6-35 months. The surgery was successful in four patients. Three of the four patients were managed with intermittent catheterization, and one managed by ileocystostomy. The fifth patient continued to require an indwelling urethral catheter. Conclusion: Gracilis urethromyoplasty achieves compression of the urethra using a neurovascularly intact muscle graft. The functional urethral closure, obtained from the gracilis muscle wrap, assures dryness, and permits intermittent self catheterization. It also avoids the risks of infection, erosion, or malfunction associated with the artificical urinary sphincter. The potential exists for electrical stimulation of this muscle graft to allow volitional control of the neo-sphincter mechanism, and voluntary voiding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-549
Number of pages4
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Electric stimulation
  • Muscles
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tissue transplantation
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urodynamic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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