Type of Surgery

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Last updated: 02/17/2009

Demographics

According to the Spina Bifida Association of America, spina bifida is both the most common neural tube defect and the most common birth defect resulting in permanent disability. It is estimated that about 40% of Americans have spina bifida occulta....

However, some people who have it may have no symptoms and may therefore be unaware of their condition, so the percentage is an approximation. Meningocele and myelomeningocele are noticeable at birth and are paired together as spina bifida manifesta. Spina bifida manifesta occurs in about one in 1,000 births, with 4–5% being meningocele and 95–96% being myelomeningocele.



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Meningocele repair is surgery to repair birth defects of the spine and spinal membranes. . For both meningoceles and myelomeningoceles, surgery consists of putting the spinal cord or nerve roots in their normal place and protecting them by closing the overlying meninges and skin.

A myelomeningocele should be closed within 24 hours of birth to prevent infection. A shunt is usually required to drain excess fluid. If the baby has fluid build-up in the brain, a shunt is usually put in when the myelomeningocele is repaired. Otherwise, most neurosurgeons wait about 3 days to place a shunt.

If hydrocephalus is present at birth and already causing problems, then the myelomeningocele repair and shunt are done at the same time.

After surgery, antibiotics are usually given to prevent infection.


From http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003020.htm

Other Information

Neurosurgery is one of the longest training periods of all the medical specialties because of the extreme complexity of the nervous system and the advanced technique used in this specialty.


-Neuroscience & Spine Associates

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