Before 8 March, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.
Spina bifida is a birth defect that means “open spine.”
The function of the vertebral column (spine) is to protect the spinal cord, which is the group of nerves that runs through the middle of the back and is responsible for sending signals between the brain and the body. Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the bones in this area do not form correctly.
This can affect the development of babies’ brains, spines, spinal cords and meninges. According to the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, while the cause of this disorder is not completely known, its potential contributing factors include ethnic group (it is more common among Caucasians and Hispanics), folate deficiency and having a family history of the disorder.
The four types of spina bifida are:
- Spina bifida occulta (also called hidden spina bifida). This is the mildest form and usually doesn’t cause health problems. With this condition, the opening in the spine is small, the spinal cord and nerves stay in place and usually they are not damaged.
- Closed neural tube defect. This occurs when the fat, bone or meninges around the spinal cord do not form correctly, which can cause nerve damage. Symptoms are often not present, but some babies may have problems controlling their bladder.
- Meningocele. This is the least common form of spina bifida. In this condition, the meninges push out through the gap in the spine. This creates a sac full of fluid (called meningocele) in the baby’s back. Surgery can be performed to treat it.
- Myelomeningocele (also called open spina bifida). This is the most severe and most common form of this condition and occurs when part of the spinal cord pushes out with the meninges through the opening in the spine to form a sac on the baby’s back. This damages the spinal cord and surrounding nerves.