What is spina bifida?

Spina Bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect where the spine does not close around the spinal cord during development. This may be as small as a small gap between the 2 sides, with no buldging out of membranes or nerves, & no associated handicaps, to a large defect with part of the cord exposed outside the body, leading to paralysis and other neurological problems. Folic acid decreases the risk.
Spina bifida. Is a congenital malformation of the vertebra, at any level, though usually the lumbar, which lays the spinal cord open to the air. It usually leads to paralysis of the lower limbs, bladder and bowel and a strong chance of meningitis.

Related Questions

What is spina bifida?

Spinal cord disorder. The spinal cord forms as an open tube that starts to close from the middle out to the two ends. The entire closure is done by about ten weeks. If the closure is not normal than a condition known as spina bifida occurs. Open spina bifida is when there is an opening in the spinal column to the skin. Closed spina bifida is when there is an opening in the spinal column but it has a thin cover. Read more...
Lack of closure. In the fetus the spine develops with two parts that come together. The spinal cord is a flat strip that folds up and closes. If these two parts do not fold up and close, they leave an opening in the spine with the spinal cord hanging loose. This appears as a sack usually at the base of the spine. The nerves to the legs, bowels and bladder are often involved. The sack needs to be closed. Read more...
Different forms. There are several types of spina bifida. All of them are the result of abnormal neural formation. Some types have some bone missing and other types have the neural sac exposed and others have the nerves exposed. Maintaining appropriate levels of folate (folic acid) prior to being pregnant is important as low levels have been correlated with higher incidence. Hope this helps. Read more...

What is spina bifida and how is it caused?

Congenital. This is a failure of the bones to fuse at birth usually in the lower spine. Sometimes the nerves to the legs and bladder are also malformed. So in effect, you are born with it. Read more...

What causes spina bifida? Is spina bifida caused by a spinal cord injury, or a chromosomal disorder?

Spina . Spina bifida is not an injury. It is a birth defect caused by failure of the nervous system to fully develop. When the embryo is forming, the nervous system starts out as a "neural tube" that is supposed to grow in a very specific way. If it does not, you are left with "neural tube defects" like spina bifida. There is nothing we know of that causes it for sure, but certain things make it more likely. It is more common with children that have trisomy 13, 18, or 21, but that is just an association, not a cause. They are very common, and the only thing we know of that might help prevent them is for the mother to take folate (folic acid). The hard part about that is the mother has to take folate (folic acid) very early in the pregnancy, often before she even knows she is pregnant. That is why the all women of child-bearing age are advised to take at least 0.4 mg of Folic Acid every day. Read more...
Congenital. Spina bifida is largely a congenital (born with it) disorder. Cause is not known. Some vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed and remain unfused and open. 2 forms - occulta (hidden, covered). But, if the opening is large enough, this allows a portion of the spinal cord to protrude through the opening in the bones. Read more...
No one knows . There seems to be an interplay of genetic and environmental factors that cause this disease. Women who have had one child with spina bifida, or who are obese or diabetic have an increased chance of having a child with the problem. It is known that taking Folic Acid during the fertile years decreases the chance of having this problem. Read more...

Can you tell me what spina bifida means?

Split spine. Spina bifida is a generic term used to describe congenital malformations of the spine (typically lower spine). It can be mild to very severe and be associated with a variety of conditions. Read more...

What causes meningocele / spina bifida?

Genetics usually. Altho there is high correlation with genetics causing meningocele / spina bifida, drugs (especially chemotherapeutics) and low blood folate (folic acid) during gestation or abdominal / pelvic irradiation during pregnancy are known causes. Read more...
Usually not known. As with most cases of spina bifida, in most cases of meningocele, the cause is not determined. Although people likely have genetic predispositions, in individual patients, we generally never determine a cause. Recurrence risk is low, about 3%, so environmental and genetic factors are both involved. Read more...

What are the signs of spina bifida?

Spina Bifida. Depends on the type; 1. Spina bifida occulta shows small gap in 1 or more of spinal bones, seen in newborn as a small dimple or birth mark or tuft of hair or fat collection. 2. Meningocele shows as bulging of meninges (sheath around spinal cord) through the opening in back. 3. Myelomeningocele is wider protrusion through several vertebrae, forming a large sac. This is most severe. Read more...

What are the tests for spina bifida?

Spina bifida. Spina bifida is usually diagnosed by x-ray for MRI of the lower spine. In the new born it can also be done with an ultrasound. Read more...
Depends . There are three forms. Spina bifida occulta is the mildest and may go indiagnosed throughout life. The other two can be diagnosed on exam and with radiographs upon birth or intrauterine (meningocele and myelomeningocele). It can be diagnosed while child still in gestation via certain blood test and confirmed with ultrasound. Decrease incidence by taking enough Folic Acid before and during preg. Read more...
Spina bifida occulta. If you are meaning spina bifida occulta, the main test are x-rays. If there is a question of complications such as a tethered spinal cord, MRI would be the test of choice. Read more...

Need expert help here. What are all types of spina bifida?

Spina bifida. It would take a textbook to answer this question as they are many types and severity. In short spina bifida can be mild with no skin stigmata such as spina bifida occulta. To the more severe disorder where this is actual herniation of the spinal cord through the skin and muscle and again there are both mild and severe forms of this. Read more...