Spina Bifida Treatment

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spina bifida develops in a fetus early in pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Babies born with spina bifida need specialized treatment from the moment they are born. Dr. Edward Hill tells us about the treatment procedures in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Spina bifida occurs when the vertebrae that make up a babys spine do not form properly, allowing the spinal cord to bulge out of the spine.

For babies born with myelogmeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida, doctors protect the protruding nerves and tissues by confining them in the spinal canal. Surgery to correct the defect is usually performed within 36 to 48 hours after birth.

Most babies with spina bifida have hydrocephalus, or increased fluid pressure in the head around the brain. A shunt can be surgically placed to relieve pressure on the brain by draining excess fluid into the abdominal area. This keeps the swelling from causing further damage to the brain.

Leg braces may help prevent damage to the joints and help the child walk.

Frequent doctors visits will be needed early in the childs life. Doctors use these visits to make sure treatments are working and to determine if the child needs additional surgery.

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