Arthritis-Symptom.com
From the Consumer Health Information Network
 

Custom Search
 

 

About Us

 
 

Have a question about any type of arthritis let our community help you find the answer

Arthritis Answers

Health News
65 condition specific health  news pages

Webmaster 

 

Causes

Diagnosis

Symptoms

Treatment

Spina Bifida Symptoms

The symptoms of spina bifida vary from person to person, depending on the type. Often, individuals with occulta have no outward signs of the disorder. Closed neural tube defects are often recognized early in life due to an abnormal tuft or clump of hair or a small dimple or birthmark on the skin at the site of the spinal malformation.

Meningocele and myelomeningocele generally involve a fluid-filled sac—visible on the back—protruding from the spinal cord. In meningocele, the sac may be covered by a thin layer of skin, whereas in most cases of myelomeningocele, there is no layer of skin covering the sac and a section of spinal cord tissue usually is exposed.

What are the complications of spina bifida?

Complications of spina bifida can range from minor physical problems to severe physical and mental disabilities. It is important to note, however, that most people with spina bifida are of normal intelligence. Severity is determined by the size and location of the malformation, whether or not skin covers it, whether or not spinal nerves protrude from it, and which spinal nerves are involved. Generally all nerves located below the malformation are affected. Therefore, the higher the malformation occurs on the back, the greater the amount of nerve damage and loss of muscle function and sensation.

In addition to loss of sensation and paralysis, another neurological complication associated with spina bifida is Chiari II malformation—a rare condition (but common in children with myelomeningocele) in which the brainstem and the cerebellum, or rear portion of the brain, protrude downward into the spinal canal or neck area. This condition can lead to compression of the spinal cord and cause a variety of symptoms including difficulties with feeding, swallowing, and breathing; choking; and arm stiffness.

Chiari II malformation may also result in a blockage of cerebrospinal fluid, causing a condition called hydrocephalus, which is an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The buildup of fluid puts damaging pressure on the brain. Hydrocephalus is commonly treated by surgically implanting a shunt—a hollow tube—in the brain to drain the excess fluid into the abdomen.

Some newborns with myelomeningocele may develop meningitis, an infection in the meninges. Meningitis may cause brain injury and can be life-threatening.

Children with both myelomeningocele and hydrocephalus may have learning disabilities, including difficulty paying attention, problems with language and reading comprehension, and trouble learning math.

Additional problems such as latex allergies, skin problems, gastrointestinal conditions, and depression may occur as children with spina bifida get older.

 
 
 
 
 
   

This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.

08/05/2010

Link to Arthritis-Symptom.com
And help arthritis suffers find the
information they need