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Surgery Helps Kids Who Can't 'Hold It'

Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby performs a procedure that helps some incontinent children.
Jane Greenhalgh, NPR
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Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby performs a procedure that helps some incontinent children.

Few things terrify children as much as the thought of wetting their pants at school. A national survey of children's fears found this ranked third after the death of a parent and going blind. In Portland, Ore., pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby is helping a group of children for whom this fear is a daily reality.

Some children are born with a condition, known as tethered-cord syndrome, that can affect the nerves that control the bowel and bladder. Wehby performs a procedure that can correct the problem. She's found that more than 90 percent of her patients dramatically improved, and many regained complete control.

Wehby performs many more complicated operations, but she says this procedure is one of her favorites, because it's so simple and yet makes such a huge difference for these children and their families.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jane Greenhalgh is a senior producer and editor on NPR's Science Desk.