Spina Bifida

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spina bifida is one of the most common birth defects, affecting seven of every 10,000 babies. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this sometimes crippling condition.

Dr. Hill:

Spina bifida is a birth defect that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings. The term spina bifida comes from Latin and literally means split or open spine. It occurs when the vertebrae that make up a babys spine do not form properly.

Spina bifida develops early in pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that women who take folic acid before and during their pregnancy can decrease their risk of having a child with spina bifida by as much as 70 percent.

There are different severities of spina bifida. The most serious type can cause nerve damage and problems with walking, bladder control and coordination.

Meningocele occurs when fluid has leaked out of the spinal canal, causing a swollen area on the babys spine. Myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida, occurs when a segment of the spinal nerves pushes against the underside of the skin and becomes damaged. In the worst cases, the tissues and nerves are exposed outside of the body.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.