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Michigan Sports and Spine

Spina Bifida

Overview
Spina bifida (“cleft spine”) is a birth defect affecting the spinal column. Spina bifida progresses from a cleft, or split like opening, in the back part of the backbones (the spinal vertebrae). In more severe cases, it involves the spinal cord. Spina bifida is the most common of a group of birth defects known as neural tube defects, which affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

Spina bifida begins in the womb, when the tissues that fold to form the neural tube do not close or do not stay closed completely. This causes an opening in the vertebrae, which surround and protect the spinal cord. This occurs just a few weeks (21 to 28 days) after conception—usually before the woman knows that she is pregnant.

Causes
Genetics
Nutrition
Exposure to harmful substances
Lack of folic acid the mother's diet during pregnancy

Symptoms
Various degrees of leg paralysis
Spine curvature
Hip, foot, and leg deformities
Bowel and bladder control problems
Hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the brain
Obesity
Pathologic bone fractures
Growth hormone deficiency resulting in short stature
Learning disorders
Neurological problems

Diagnosis
Prenatal testing
Physical examination and medical history analysis
X-rays
Ultrasound
CT scan
MRI
Gait assessment

Treatment
Surgery
Intensive and complex care

Source: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/spina_bifida/article_em.htm

 

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