If you have been diagnosed with spinal bifida, you probably want to learn more about the condition. This article will give you an overview of this "neural tube defect," including its causes, complications, and treatments. There is a wealth of information available on this condition. You can also find out more about its symptoms. Here's a quick rundown of the common symptoms. But first, let's talk about what causes spinal bifida and why it's important to know your risk factors.
Neural tube defect
There are two types of neural tube defects - occult and closed. Both are related to the development of the brain and spinal cord. During the first month of pregnancy, the embryo grows a primitive tissue structure called a neural tube. The neural tube changes as it develops into a much more complex structure - the spine and nervous system. If this developmental defect is not repaired, it can lead to a variety of neurological problems, including severe brain damage.
A surgery called myelomeningocele is often performed to correct the defect. In the case of spinal bifida, surgery is required to prevent further damage and infection. Neurosurgeons will place the neural tissues back into the spinal canal and close the affected skin and muscle. Plastic surgeons may be involved in large areas. The surgery is usually performed within 48 hours.
A neural tube defect causes a baby to have a split spine. It affects 7 in every 10,000 live births. In the U.S., an estimated 166,000 people have spinal bifida. Experts at Texas Children's will diagnose and treat any of these conditions. With an increased focus on prevention and treatment, the condition can be corrected. But there is no cure for spina bifida.
In addition to a thorough physical, a mother may also need to undergo a blood test to determine if her baby is suffering from the condition. Alpha-fetoprotein, or AFP, is a protein produced by the unborn baby. A high AFP level may indicate that the fetus has spinal bifida. Genetic counseling may be necessary if the AFP level is elevated during pregnancy.
The most common type of spina bifida is myelomeningocele. It involves a portion of the spinal cord protruding out of the back. The skin may cover the defect, but tissue and nerves can be exposed. The location of the defect on the spinal cord determines the extent of the neurological disabilities a patient may suffer. For example, severe cases can result in total paralysis of the legs, or bowel and bladder dysfunction.
A woman who died unexpectedly from complications of spinal bifida is one of the few known survivors. Phyllis Haskell Nichols, 50, died on July 12, 2014. She was born in Bangor, Maine, to Alan Nichols and Elizabeth Haskell. She attended Woodland High School and Saint Joseph College in Standish. Despite her affliction, she maintained a healthy lifestyle and was a loving mother.
There are several options available for treating spina bifida. These include surgery before birth and ongoing rehabilitation after birth. The goal of these treatments is to prevent disability and deformity, as well as strengthen weak leg muscles. Treatment for spina bifida may involve daily exercises or wearing a special splint. Rehabilitation also includes the use of walking aids. Fortunately, most children with the condition grow up to attend college or pursue a career.
Surgery is often performed to help prevent hydrocephalus. This condition results in an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This pressure is harmful to the developing brain, so surgeons may remove excess fluid from the skull. In many cases, hydrocephalus can lead to intellectual disabilities. This disorder results in problems with brain function, including delays in physical development, learning, and communication. Children with spina bifida may also have difficulty paying attention or learning.
Severe cases of spina bifida can be treated using fetal surgery. In this surgery, the mother's abdominal area is opened and the abnormal opening in the spinal cord is closed. It reduces the risk of hydrocephalus and premature birth. This surgery, while costly, is often reserved for very severe cases. It may not be possible to revert spinal bifida after birth, but it can improve quality of life for the child.
A fatty tumor is another option for treatment of spina bifida. Surgical treatment can cure the condition if the fatty tumor is removed. However, it can also cause muscle weakness and decreased sensation. In some cases, the spinal bifida is completely asymptomatic. In some cases, it may lead to debilitating disabilities. It's important to consult with a doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Amniocentesis is a test that detects fetal defects and is usually performed between weeks 15 and 20 of pregnancy. AFP levels in the mother's amniotic fluid may be elevated. A high level may indicate spina bifida. If a diagnosis of spina bifida is made, surgery may be performed. But if it isn't possible to correct it before birth, the condition must be managed during pregnancy to prevent complications.
There are several complications associated with spinal bifida. This birth defect affects the development of the spinal cord, leading to impaired language and physical coordination. Some children may require wheelchairs, leg braces, or walking sticks. They may also suffer from dislocated joints and misshapen bones. In severe cases, meningitis may be life-threatening. If you suspect your child has this birth defect, you should consult your pediatrician immediately.
One of the most common causes of spina bifida is abnormal development of the spinal cord during pregnancy. This process begins as a line of cells that will eventually roll together to form the neural tube, a tunnel through which the developing spine will pass. If the cells of the neural tube do not close properly, this condition can occur. If you suspect your child has spinal bifida, make sure your child receives regular pediatric care.
The severity of spinal bifida varies, depending on the severity of the condition. Surgical treatment is one way to correct the condition. However, some cases are so severe that they require surgery, and early treatment can be difficult. Because of this, your pediatrician may recommend that you have a comprehensive physical exam. Early treatment may include surgery, but the problem could still be there. There are several different types of spina bifida, the mildest of which is Spina bifida Occulta. Most people are unaware they have this spinal disorder, and a diagnosis can only occur during an imaging test.
If you suspect that you have a genetic risk for this condition, talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist. Genetic testing may reduce your child's chances of developing spina bifida. In most cases, treatment will be focused on prevention and limiting the severity of symptoms and disabilities. The child can usually attend mainstream school with some additional help. It is important to be sure your child receives the appropriate rehabilitation and medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs during pregnancy. During development, the spinal cord is formed as a flat plate. When the spine is not fully formed, the meninges push out through the opening and form a fluid-filled sac. When this happens, spinal bifida can cause severe neurological damage and physical disabilities. In fact, up to 80 percent of patients who have this birth defect develop severe symptoms, such as paralysis, lowered body temperature, and difficulty in breathing.