Spina Bifida means cleft spine, which is an incomplete closure in the spinal column. In general, the three types of spina bifida (from mild to severe) are:
- Spina Bifida Occulta: There is an opening in one or more of the vertebrae (bones) of the spinal column without apparent damage to the spinal cord.
- Meningocele: The meninges, or protective covering around the spinal cord, has pushed out through the opening in the vertebrae in a sac called the “meningocele.” However, the spinal cord remains intact. This form can be repaired with little or no damage to the nerve pathways.
- Myelomeningocele: This is the most severe form of spina bifida, in which a portion of the spinal cord itself protrudes through the back. In some cases, sacs are covered with skin; in others, tissue and nerves are exposed. Generally, people use the terms “spina bifida” and “myelomeningocele” interchangeably.
This information was sourced from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/spinabifida