Meningocele repair - series

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Normal anatomy

A birth defect involving an abnormal opening in the spinal bones (vertebrae) is called spina bifida. The spinal vertebrae have not formed and joined normally, leaving an opening.

Normal anatomy

Indication

A defect which also includes a small, moist sac (cyst) protruding through the spinal defect, containing a portion of the spinal cord membrane (meninges), spinal fluid, and a portion of spinal cord and nerves is called a meningocele, myelomeningocele, or meningomyelocele.

Indication

Procedure

Surgical treatment is needed to repair the defect and is usually done within 12 to 24 hours after birth to prevent infection, swelling, and further damage.

While the baby is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), an incision is made in the sac and some of the excess fluid is drained off. The spinal cord is covered with the membranes (meninges) and the skin is closed over the protruding meninges, spinal cord, and nerves.

Procedure

Aftercare

The long-term result depends on the condition of the spinal cord and nerves. Outcomes range from normal development to paralysis (paraplegia).

Infants may require about 2 weeks in the hospital after surgery.

Aftercare

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 2/27/2013
  • Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles and Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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This page was last updated: April 14, 2014

         
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