Spina Bifida is a common birth defect and is also a part of the neutral tube defects. A fault in the spinal column where one or more vertebrae fails to develop appropriately and leaves split or gap, resulting in the damage of the nervous system. This fault is known as spina bifida. The condition of spina bifida does not cause any problem in children. This condition makes it hard to do daily activities or walking without help. This birth defect can be seen in 1-2 per 1000 live births all over the world. Spina bifida occurs during the development of the fetus while in utero.
Spina bifida can be both severe and mild. The mild form is considered at the most common form of spina bifida that does not result in any problem and also does not require any treatment. There are two types of severe forms of spina bifida which are also less common –
This common birth defect has no exact causes. According some experts, environment and genes can be considered as a part of the cause. It includes –
The symptoms of spina bifida differ that depends upon the severity of the condition in the child and also on the form of the condition. The symptoms for each disease are –
Myelomeningocele: Protruding from the back, there will be a sac-like mass of spinal cord and nerves. This mass includes portions of the nerves and spinal cord and meninges. Babies who suffer from this disease will have an open spinal defect that needs urgent surgery for protecting the nerves and spinal cord and also for closing the skin.
Spina bifida occulta: There are no symptoms of this disease as the spinal cord does not protrude from the skin. There could be hairy patch, birthmark or dimple on the lower spine.
Meningocele: In this, a fluid-filled sac can protrude at the back bone area. This results in development of a large mass at the back.
There is no cure for spina bifida. Some of its treatment options are –
Hydrocephalus: The cerebrospinal fluid nourishes the spinal cord and the brain. Patients who have spina bifida may also experience accumulation of the fluid within the skull. Arnold Chiari malformation is responsible for causing this condition. Shunt surgery is required immediately in this condition.
Emotional Effects: A child with spina bifida can experience emotional distress such as low self-esteem, insecurity and depression.
Limited Mobility: The mobility impairment depends on the severity of every case that vary from having a little disordered gait to being assisted by a wheelchair or leg braces.
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