oa Professional Nursing Today - Spina bifida : an ongoing challenge : paediatrics

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1607-6672



Every year 300 000 newborns are afflicted by the two commonest neural tube defects, myelomeningocele and anencephaly.1 The burden of disability is immense, especially in the developing world. This review will focus on myelomeningocele and other congenital anomalies of the spinal cord. The term <I>spina bifida&lt;/I&gt; refers to a spectrum of congenital disorders of the <I>bony spine&lt;/I&gt; which may be associated with an underlying abnormality of the <I>spinal cord</I>, in which case the disease may be referred to as <I>spinal dysraphism</I>. In its simplest form, spina bifida is characterised by a defect in the posterior bony neural arch (spinous process and laminae) which may be seen on spinal x-rays in about 10% of people2 and is seldom of importance.

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