Spina Bifida is part of a group of birth defects called neural tube defects. The neural tube is the embryonic structure that eventually develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord and the tissues enclosing them. Symptoms are:
Spina bifida occulta: mildest form with symptoms of abnormal tuft of hair, small collection of fat and small dimple or birthmark
Meningocele: protective membranes around the spinal cord push out through the opening
Myelomeningocele: most severe form characterized by muscle weakness, bowel and bladder problems, seizures and orthopedic problems
HOW IS SPINA BIFIDA DIAGNOSED?
A Neurosurgeon diagnoses Spina Bifida by first performing maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein test, ultrasound and other blood tests to determine the cause of Spina Bifida.
HOW IS SPINA BIFIDA TREATED?
Treatment of Spina Bifida depends on the severity of the condition. Meningocele requires surgery to put back the meninges. Myelomeningocele requires surgery after 24 to 48 hrs after birth. Prenatal surgery may be done before the 26th week of pregnancy to repair the spinal cord. Ongoing care is also required in babies who have been operated for Spina Bifida
DID YOU KNOW?
Cesarean birth may be part of the treatment for spina bifida. Many babies with Spina Bifida tend to be in a feet-first (breech) position. If your baby is in this position or if your doctor has detected a large cyst, cesarean birth may be a safer way to deliver your baby.