Among the various abnormalities that can occur in fetal development, a little known is spina bifida or spina bifurcada as it is also called by doctors. Spina bifida is a congenital malformation considered common because it occurs in many cases and is characterized by malformation and incorrect closure of the embryo’s neural tube.
The problem is generated in the first two gestational months, where some vertebrae that cover the spinal cord end up not forming entirely leaving an open space in the place. With this open space, the spinal cord ends up protruding and protruding from the bones, being easily viewed externally. There are 3 types of anomalies linked to spina bifida malformations, meningocele, myelomeningocele and hidden spina bifida.
- Meningocele – Considered the mildest form of spina bifida, meningocele causes a small protrusion in the baby’s back involving only the protective structures of the spinal cord, but keeping it inside the vertebrae as expected.
- Myelomeningocele – Considered the most serious case of spina bifida, in addition to the large visible protrusion, the protective structures of the spinal cord are fully open. Causing the baby to have neurological problems preventing the transmission of nerve impulses.
- Hidden Spina Bifida – The most common type of occurrence and characterized by incomplete closure of the spine, but that does not affect the involvement of the spinal cord or its structures. Because it is one of the cases that do not affect the neurological system, it can go unnoticed. One of the usual signs of this type is the presence of hair or stain in the region.
Among the main causes of this pathology is the advanced age of the parents, diabetic mothers, lack of folic acid in the mother’s body, alcohol intake during pregnancy and genetic disorders. Spina bifida can be diagnosed through an ultrasound exam in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Treatment for Spina Bifida
The proper treatment for spina bifida will be indicated due to its type and large numbers of cases are that no type of treatment is necessary . As we have already mentioned above, in the case of hidden spina bifida the fact may go unnoticed because it does not present any symptoms or difficulties for the child. Usually the indicated treatment is through repair surgery, which should take place in the first days of the baby’s life. The aim is to introduce the entire structure inside the column to its proper place, thus closing the deformity. However, it is worth noting that this surgery almost always fails to avoid the neurological problems caused by spina bifida.
In cases of myelomeningocele, the baby must also undergo surgical repair in the first days of birth. Until the surgery is performed, the baby must be kept in the belly-down position, allowing the small opening to remain up and covered with the help of gases soaked in the saline solution, thus avoiding the risk of infections in the area. In cases where hydrocephalus occurs along spina bifida, the removal of excess fluid from the brain must be performed through surgery as well, in order to reduce and prevent further consequences for the child’s health. In addition to surgical repair, physiotherapy is of great importance in the treatmentwhich focuses on strengthening the spine and muscles of the intestine and bladder and providing greater autonomy for the child, in some cases teaching and strengthening how to walk or even use wheelchairs. Physiotherapy sessions also serve to decrease and prevent the development of deformities in the area, in addition to increasing control over the body.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.