8 FACTS ABOUT SPINA BIFIDA
1 Spina bifida (SB) is a birth defect that occurs when a baby’s neural tube doesn’t close properly in the first month of pregnancy.
2 There are 3 types of SB, ranging from very mild to very severe.
3 The most severe form is myelomeningocele (pronounced “my-lomen-ing-go-seal”). It’s also called “open spina bifida”.
4 With myelomeningocele, the spinal cord is exposed, making a newborn very susceptible to nerve damage and dangerous infections.
5 SB can lead to several physical and neurological problems, including weak leg muscles and paralysis, bladder and kidney problems and learning difficulties.
6 Most people with myelomeningocele also have hydrocephalus, which is a build-up of fluid on the brain. In this case, a shunt is inserted to drain the excess fluid.
7 Some of the risk factors for SB are a folic acid deficiency in early pregnancy, unmanaged diabetes, obesity and a family history of SB.
8 With surgery, doctors can close the opening and put the spinal cord back in place. However, there is no cure for the nerves that have already been damaged.
Levi right after the operation to close the opening in his back