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Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele

Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele is the most serious form, the meningeal membranes that cover the spinal cord and part of the spinal cord protrude through a cleft, forming a sac or cyst, and are clearly visible. In developed countries, this opening is surgically repaired shortly after birth. The sac or cyst not only contains tissue and cerebrospinal fluid but also nerves and part of the spinal cord. The spinal cord is damaged or not properly developed. As a result, there is usually some degree of paralysis and loss of sensation below the damaged vertebrae. The amount of disability depends very much on where the spina bifida is and the amount of nerve damage involved. Many children and adults with this condition experience problems with bowel and bladder control. In approximately 90% of the people with myelomeningocele, hydrocephalus, extra fluid in the ventricles of the brain, will also occur.

Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele symptoms

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Partial or complete lack of sensation
  • Partial or complete paralysis of the legs
  • Weakness of the hips, legs, or feet of a newborn

Some other symptoms may be present

  • Abnormal feet or legs, such as clubfoot
  • Build up of fluid inside the skull (hydrocephalus)
  • Hair at the back part of the pelvis called the sacral area
  • Dimpling of the sacral area

Types of Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele

There are two forms of  myelomeningocele

  • The patient may have a closed swelling containing spinal cord and/or spinal nerves. 

  • More often, his spinal canal is open and leaks CSF, with his flattened cord forming a plaque on its surface.  control, so that surgery merely prolongs their misery, and that of their parents. You may however be justified in operating on sacral myelomeningoceles, as described below.

Both types may occur in the cervical or lumbar regions, and other abnormalities are frequent, particularly hydrocephalus. Most children have irreversible paralysis of their legs, and loss of sphincter


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