Some of the effects of spina bifida include learning disabilities, hydrocephalus, and depression. There are many factors that determine the severity of these effects. Some of these factors include the size and location of the malformation, whether skin covers the malformation, and which spinal nerves are involved in the malformation.
The effects of spina bifida can range from minor physical problems to severe physical and mental disabilities. However, it is important to note that most people with spina bifida are of normal intelligence.
Severity of the Effects of Spina Bifida
The severity of these effects is determined by:
The size and location of the malformation
Whether skin covers the malformation
Whether spinal nerves protrude from the malformation
Which spinal nerves are involved in the malformation.
In most cases, all of the nerves that are located below the malformation are affected. Therefore, the higher the malformation occurs on the back, the greater the amount of nerve damage and loss of muscle function and sensation there will be.
In addition to loss of sensation and paralysis, another neurological complication associated with spina bifida is Chiari II malformation. This is a rare condition (but common in children with myelomeningocele) in which the brainstem and the cerebellum, or rear portion of the brain, protrude downward into the spinal canal or neck area. A Chiari II malformation can lead to compression of the spinal cord and can cause a variety of symptoms, which include:
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