Alternate Names : Spinal Rachischisis, Spinal Dysraphism
What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
Examination of a newborn infant with spina bifida may show different things. This depends on the form, location, and severity of the condition.
Spina bifida occulta often has no findings at all. It may not be noticed until much later in life. Some children have a wisp of hair, a dimple, or a soft swelling in the skin over the area of the spinal canal defect.
Meningocele may show obvious swelling in the skin over the area of the spinal column defect. The skin may even be missing. Many newborns have no other symptoms, although severe cases may cause problems in the nervous system. These can cause paralysis and loss of feeling.
Myelomeningocele defects are usually the most obvious. A large swelling of the skin over the spinal column may occur, if the skin is present at all. Nervous system problems are usually found. These may include paralysis and loss of feeling. Constant dribbling of urine and leakage of stool may be present. If the defect is high up in the neck, an enlarged head and breathing troubles may occur.