PEDIATRIC SPINA BIFIDA

It is a birth defect that happens when the bones of the spine do not close all the way during fetal development. Spina bifida is a type of birth defect called a neural tube defect. It is generally seen due to folic acid deficiency. In the past, we used to have more frequent surgeries, but we think its incidence decreased with the increase in the quality of pregnancy follow-up.

Symptoms
Symptoms can occur differently in each child.
– Area on the back that looks abnormal, such as a small hairy patch, dimple, birthmark or a pouch-like bulge (sac)
– Not able to move his or her legs (paralysis)
– Constipation or incontinence
– Heart problems
– Bone problems

Diagnose
– Prenatal ultrasound
– Postnatal ultrasound and MRI help us both diagnose and plan of treatment

Treatment
Surgery may help to:
– Fix and close the defect
– Treat hydrocephalus
– Treat bone (orthopedic) problems. Bone problems may include curvature in the back, hip dislocation, ankle and foot deformities, and contracted muscles.
– Fix bowel and bladder problems.
– Rehabilitation
– Positioning aids that help the child sit, lie or stand
– Braces and splints that help prevent deformity and give support or protection to areas of the body

If the spinal cord is completely open to the skin, we operate it within the first 24 hours. It is important to follow up our patients for hydrocephalus that may develop in the near future and the tethered cord that may develop at later ages.