Spina Bifida

Posted by e-Medical PPT Monday, September 13, 2010
Spina bifida is a developmental birth defect caused by the incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube.Normally the closure of the neural tube occurs around 28 days after fertilization.However, if something interferes and the tube fails to close properly, a neural tube defect will occur.Research has shown that lack of folic acid is a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Supplementation of the mother's diet with folate can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by about 70 percent, and can also decrease the severity of these defects when they occur.
Spina bifida malformations fall into four categories:spina bifida occulta, spina bifida cystica - myelomeningocele and meningocele.The most common location of the malformations is the lumbar and sacral areas.Myelomeningocele is the most significant form and it is this that leads to disability in most affected individuals.
In Spina bifida occulta(Meningocele,Myelomeningocele) the outer part of some of the vertebrae are not completely closed.The split in the vertebrae is so small that the spinal cord does not protrude. The skin at the site of the lesion may be normal, or it may have some hair growing from it.
In spina bifida cystica, a cyst protrudes through the defect in the vertebral arch. These conditions can be diagnosed in utero on the basis of elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein, after amniocentesis, and by ultrasound imaging. Spina bifida cystica may result in hydrocephalus and neurological deficits.
Spina bifida can be surgically closed after birth, but this does not restore normal function to the affected part of the spinal cord. Intrauterine surgery for spina bifida has also been performed.

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