Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the vertebrae form improperly around part of an infant’s spinal cord. The exact cause is unknown, although genetic or environmental factors are believed to contribute to development of the condition. Most commonly, cases of spina bifida are mild and do not require extensive treatment. More rare and severe cases, however, may cause part of the spinal nerves to be pushed out of the spinal canal, causing significant nerve damage. Fluid may leak out of the spine and push against the skin, causing a noticeable bump. The baby’s skin may also open, exposing the nerves. To access a Memphis spina bifida doctor, call or visit Campbell Clinic.
The condition may cause numbness or paralysis in the extremities, as well as bladder or bowel problems and fluid build-up on the brain. Blood tests and ultrasounds during pregnancy can help identify potential birth defects. After birth, a physician can typically identify spina bifida based on the appearance of a baby’s back. Diagnostic imaging helps determine the severity of the condition.
Children with myelomeningocele, the rarest and most serious form of spina bifida, need surgery. Physical therapy is also beneficial for children with severe spina bifida.