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11 Jul 2005

Spina Bifida
What is Spina Bifida? Afriend of mine's child was born with this.

Answer 322 views

01 Jan 0001

Gabi, it is defective closure of the vertebral column. Spina bifida is one of the most serious neural tube defects compatible with prolonged life. Its severity varies from the occult type with no findings to a completely open spine (rachischisis) with severe neurologic disability and death. In spina bifida cystica, the protruding sac can contain meninges (meningocele), spinal cord (myelocele), or both (myelomeningocele). Spina bifida is most common in the lower thoracic, lumbar, or sacral region and usually extends for 3 to 6 vertebral segments. The sac in a myelomeningocele usually consists of meninges with a central neural plaque. If not well covered with skin, the sac can easily rupture, increasing the risk of meningitis.
When the spinal cord or lumbosacral nerve roots are involved in the spina bifida, as is usual, varying degrees of paralysis occur below the involved level. Since this paralysis occurs in the fetus, orthopedic problems can present at birth (eg, clubfoot, dislocated hip). The paralysis usually affects bladder and rectal functions, and the resulting GU disorder can eventually lead to severely damaged kidneys. Other congenital anomalies may also be present.
Prognosis is determined by the number and severity of abnormalities and is poorest for patients with total paralysis below the lesion, kyphosis, hydrocephalus, early hydronephrosis, and associated congenital defects. With proper care, however, many children do well. Loss of renal function and shunt complications are the usual causes of death in older patients with spina bifida.
Let me know if you have more questions. Good luck.
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