Spina Bifida

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What is Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is a condition, also known as neural tube defect, where the spine and the spinal cord of a baby does not develop correctly in the womb. This results in a gap in the spine causing defects in the spinal cord and bones of the spine.

The neural tube is the structure that leads to the development brain and spinal cord of an infant. It starts to develop in the early stages of pregnancy and develops approximately 4 weeks after conception.

This is the most mild type of spina bifida where 1 or more vertebrae doesn’t develop properly but it only leads to a small gap in the spine. This type if the most common where people may struggle to notice that they suffer from this condition due to mild symptoms.

Types of spina bifida

Myelomeningocele 

The NHS state that this is the most serious type of spina bifida where “the baby’s spinal canal remains open along multiple vertebrae in the back, allowing the spinal cord and protective membranes around it to push out and form a sac in the baby’s back.”

Meningocele

The NHS state that this is also very serious “where the protective membranes around the spinal cord (meninges) push out through the spine; the spinal cord typically grows normally, but surgery may also be used to extract the membranes without damaging the nerves.”

Spina bifida occulta

This is the mildest type of spina bifida where 1 or more vertebrae don’t develop properly but it only leads to a small gap in the spine. This type is the most common where people may struggle to notice that they suffer from this condition due to mild symptoms.

Symptoms of spina bifida

A person who suffers from this condition may experience a numbness feeling, loss of skin sensation, weakness or paralysis of the legs

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