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Spina Bifida Occulta

more about Spina Bifida Occulta


  • Spina bifida is a congenital disorder caused by incomplete development of the spinal column during the first month of pregnancy.
  • Spina bifida occulta is the mildest form of spina bifida, in which one or more vertebrae, usually involving L5 and S1, are not closed but there is no protrusion of spinal cord and meninges (protective covering around the spinal cord).
  • It can be associated with other developmental abnormalities of the spinal cord, such as syringomyelia, diastematomyelia, and a tethered cord.
  • Spina bifida occurs in approximately one out of every 1,000 births in the United States.

  • Most are asymptomatic.
  • A skin dimple with tuft of hair or discoloration of the skin on the back in some cases

  • Unknown
  • Genetic and environmental factors may play a role.

  • Visualization of the defect on the back
  • Spinal X-rays show the bony defect.
  • Spinal MRI scans can detect the degree of damage to spinal cord and nerve tissues.

  • Family history of spinal bifida
  • Increased maternal or paternal age
  • Folic acid deficiency before and during the first month of pregnancy

  • Folic acid deficiency increases the risk of neural tube defect, including spina bifida, so it is recommended that all women of childbearing age consume 0.4 mg of folic acid daily to reduce this risk (0.4 milligrams is the same as 400 micrograms).
  • Women who have an increased risk of spina bifida offspring should take much larger amounts of folic acid daily for 1-3 months before commencing a pregnancy.  Consult your doctor for the exact amount of folic acid needed.




more about Spina Bifida Occulta


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