Patent urachus repair


Patent urachus repair is a surgery to close a defect of the bladder. The urachus is a tube that connects the bladder to the umbilicus during fetal development.

After birth, the urachus normally closes and becomes a ligament. When the urachus fails to close after birth, the tube remains open (patent). This leaves an abnormal opening between the bladder and the umbilicus and increases the possibility of introducing bacteria and infection into the bladder.


While the child is unconscious and pain-free (using general anesthesia), an incision is made in the lower abdomen. The urachus is located and removed from the umbilicus and the bladder. The bladder opening is repaired, and the incision is closed.

Surgery is recommended for a patent urachus that does not close after birth.

Risks for any anesthesia are:

  • reactions to medications  
  • problems breathing

Risks for any surgery are:

  • bleeding  
  • infection

Additional risks include:

  • bladder infection  
  • bladder leaks (If this happens, a catheter is inserted and left in place until the bladder heals.)

Expectations after surgery
The outcome is usually excellent.

The infant can be fed normally and should recover rapidly. A few days of hospitalization is all that is usually required.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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