Birth defect involving inadequate closure of the bony casement of the spinal cord, through which the spinal membranes, with or without spinal cord tissue, may protrude.
Congenital defects of closure of one or more vertebral arches, which may be associated with malformations of the spinal cord, nerve roots, congenital fibrous bands, lipomas, and congenital cysts. These malformations range from mild (e.g., spina bifida occulta) to severe, including rachischisis where there is complete failure of neural tube and spinal cord fusion, resulting in exposure of the spinal cord at the surface. Spinal dysraphism includes all forms of spina bifida. The open form is called spina bifida cystica and the closed form is spina bifida occulta. (from Joynt, Clinical Neurology, 1992, ch55, p34)
Developmental anomaly characterized by defective closure of the bony encasement of the spinal cord, through which the cord and meninges may protrude.
Spina bifida is the most common disabling birth defect in the United States. It is a type of neural tube defect, which is a problem with the spinal cord or its coverings. It happens if the fetal spinal column doesn't close completely during the first month of pregnancy. There is usually nerve damage that causes at least some paralysis of the legs. Many people with spina bifida will need assistive devices such as braces, crutches or wheelchairs. They may have learning difficulties, urinary and bowel problems or hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain. There is no cure. Treatments focus on the complications, and can include surgery, medicine and physiotherapy. Taking folic acid can reduce the risk of having a baby with spina bifida. It's in most multivitamins. Women who could become pregnant should take it daily.