What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a developmental birth defect involving the neural tube, incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube results in an incompletely formed spinal cord.

Spina bifida malformations fall into three categories: spina bifida occulta, spina bifida cystica (myelomeningocele), and meningocele. The most common location of the malformations is the lumbar and sacral areas of the spinal cord.

The most common location of the malformations is the lumbar and sacral areas of the spinal cord. The lumbar nerves control the muscles in the hip, leg, knee and foot, and help to keep the body erect.

There is no cure for nerve damage due to spina bifida. To prevent further damage of the nervous tissue and to prevent infection, pediatric neurosurgeons operate to close the opening on the back.

Neural tube defects can usually be detected during pregnancy by testing the mother’s blood (AFP screening) or a detailed fetal ultrasound. Spina bifida may be associated with other malformations as in dysmorphic syndromes, often resulting in spontaneous miscarriage.

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