Spina bifida (SB) is a neural tube defect (a disorder involving incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or their protective coverings) caused by the failure of the fetus's spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. Infants born with SB sometimes have an open lesion on their spine where significant damage to the nerves and spinal cord has occurred. Although the spinal opening can be surgically repaired shortly after birth, the nerve damage is permanent, resulting in varying degrees of paralysis of the lower limbs. Even when there is no lesion present there may be improperly formed or missing vertebrae and accompanying nerve damage. In addition to physical and mobility difficulties, most individuals have some form of learning disability. The three most common types of SB are: myelomeningocele, the severest form, in which the spinal cord and its protective covering (the meninges) protrude from an opening in the spine; meningocele in which the spinal cord develops normally but the meninges protrude from a spinal opening; and occulta, the mildest form, in which one or more vertebrae are malformed and covered by a layer of skin. SB may also cause bowel and bladder complications, and many children with SB have hydrocephalus (excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain).


Spina bifida is a Latin term which means "split spine" and describes birth ...
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Spina Bifida Symptoms

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Signs and symptoms
... Spina bifida occurs in three forms, each varying in severity: Spina bifida occulta. The mildest form of the condition — spina bifida occulta — results in a small separation or gap in one o...
Source: MayoClinic

... Doctors aren''t certain why neural tubes don''t develop or close properly in some babies. But there seems to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors that may cause spina bifida. These in...
Source: MayoClinic

Spina Bifida Prevention

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... Folic acid (vitamin B-9) plays an essential role in a baby''s development. When taken in supplement form at least one month before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy, folic acid re...
Source: MayoClinic

Spina Bifida Treatment

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... Spina bifida may occasionally cause only minor physical disabilities. More frequently, it leads to severe physical and mental disabilities. Factors that affect the severity of complications include: T...
Source: MayoClinic

... The treatment for spina bifida depends on the severity of the condition. Spina bifida occulta doesn''t require treatment at all, while meningocele involves surgery to put the meninges back in place an...
Source: MayoClinic

Spina Bifida Support

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Coping skills
... News that a newborn child has a devastating condition such as spina bifida can naturally cause parents to feel grief, anger, frustration, fear and sadness. Over time, though, many families grow to fin...
Source: MayoClinic

Spina Bifida Other

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Spina Bifida: Overview
... Spina bifida is one of the most commonly occurring congenital disorders (birth defects) in the United States, affecting more infants each year than muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis combined. The...
Source: Cleveland Clinic

Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome Information Page
... Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by an abnormal stretching of the spinal cord. The course of the disorder is progressive. In children, symptoms may include lesions, hair...
Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Spina Bifida Articles