Symptoms, Tests, Treatment, and Prevention:
-Along with the acutal spina bifida lesion,
several other anomalies can accompany: various other skull and brain
malformations, hip dislocations, syringomelia and often hydrocephalus
(impaired ventricular flow and drainage leading to increased cranial
-Arnold-Chiari Type II malformation is frequently
present with all types of spina bifida. In this malformation, the
brain stem is slightly smaller than normal and can become lodged
in the lower passage out of the skull. This blocks the flow of CSF
and increases the pressure inside the head.
-It is also known that a large portion of
those with spina bifida also possess a latex allergy; although,
it not known whether this is inherent or developed from large amount
of exposure to latex in surgeries and examinations.
-Symptoms of myelomeningoceles are relative
to the level they are located at on the spine: depending on the
level symptoms can include partial or complete paralysis, partial
or complete lack of sensation, and loss of bladder or bowel control.
-Myelomeningoceles can sometimes be detected
before birth from a combination of ultrasound and amniocentesis,
though myelomeningoceles are readily apparent at birth.
-Several treatment options are available
for pregnancies with spina bifida, depending on the severity: for
severe malformation the pregnancy can be terminated, corrective
surgery can be employed immediately following birth, to a limited
extent intrauterine surgery is employed, and expectant management
of the spina bifida without correction is also a viable option.
-Through these methods, myelomeningoeles
are treatable without a significant decrease in life span, though
any nervous damage is usually permanent.
-Standard prevention for spina bifida is
the same dietary and lifestyle suggestions as other NTDs, particularly
a presecribed amount of folic acid taken daily.