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Medical Health Issues

Spina Bifida

Overview and Facts

Spina Bifida is broader term for a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth. Spina bifida includes any birth defect involving insufficient closure of the spine.

Spina bifida occulta is a condition in which the bones of the spine do not close but the spinal cord and meninges remain in place and skin usually covers the defect. 

Meningoceles is a condition where the tissue covering the spinal cord sticks out of the spinal defect but the spinal cord remains in place.

A myelomeningocele is a congenital (present at birth) deformity and the most serious form of spina bifida. It can occur anywhere along the spinal cord.  With myelomeningocele, the spinal canal is open.