WHAT IS SPINA BIFIDA?
Every year around 1,500 babies in the US are born with spina bifida.
Most cases are detected at a 20-week scan.
The most common and most serious form of the disease is called myelomeningocele.
In patients with myelomeningocele the spinal column remains open along the bones making up the spine.
The membranes and spinal cord push out to create a sac in the baby’s back.
This sometimes leaves the nervous system vulnerable to infections that may be fatal.
In most cases surgery is carried out to close the gap in the spine after birth.
But damage to the nervous system will usually already have taken place, resulting in:
- partial or total paralysis of the lower limbs
- bowel and urinary incontinence
- loss of skin sensation