Spina Bifida Essay

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Spina bifida is a neural tube defect in which parts of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and meninges) do not properly form during embryonic development. It can affect both motor and sensory functions, due to injured spinal nerves. There are four types of spina bifida, ranging from benign to severe. The first type is occulta. It is the most common type and is due to a malformation of one or more vertebrae. It is not a severe type of spina bifida and usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. The second type of spina bifida is the closed neural tube defect. It causes a large range of defects, being either a malformation of bone, fat or meninges. The third type is called meningocele, in which a hole in the vertebrae allows the spinal fluid and meninges to protrude outside of the vertebral column. The last type (the most severe of all four types), is called myelomeningocele. It is similar to meningocele, but in this case, the neural elements of the spine are also protruding out of the malformed vertebrae.
The exact cause of spina bifida is unknown, but scientists suspect a few risk factors. Women having the family history of spina bifida, folate
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She was diagnosed with the most severe type of spina bifida called myelomeningocele. This is a deformation of the vertebral column and spinal cord whereby a hole is present and from which all the neural elements are protruding out. This creates a visible sac of meninges on the patient 's back. In Jessica’s case, surgery was done two days after her birth, to close the spinal opening. This surgery can be done in utero, but in this case, it presented too much of a risk to the fetus. The malformation is at the level of T11 and Jessica has partial paralysis below this level with no voluntary control of her lower limbs, as well as bladder and bowel dysfunction. Fortunately, she does not seem to have any complications that could accompany this disease, such as hydrocephalus or Chiari

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