Spina Bifida

Information about Spina Bifida

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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