Spina bifida is a congenital disorder resulting from the improper formation of the spinal cord and spine during the embryonic stages of development. It's a neural tube congenital disability that occurs soon after conception. The neural tube is the beginnings of a baby's brain, spinal cord, and spine. In spina bifida, a part of the neural tube does not develop correctly, and an opening is left in the spinal column. The spinal bones, cord, and nerves can sustain damage because of the exposed area of the neural tube. The spinal cord and membranes will eventually push through this opening, and a sac will form over the material. The causes of spina bifida are unknown, but risk factors include heredity and low folic acid intake.
Prenatal or fetal surgery can be performed to correct some of the damage caused by spina bifida. This type of surgery is done before the pregnancy progresses to twenty-six weeks. Some cases may be treated in this manner to lessen the risk of further damage after the birth of the baby. In addition, the risk of hydrocephalus may also be reduced by fetal surgery. Hydrocephalus is a condition that affects approximately ninety percent of spina bifida patients.
Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the brain to protect the organ and remove waste, and the damage caused by spina bifida creates a blockage of this fluid. It accumulates in the brain and creates pressure, which can lead to permanent damage to brain tissue. It's imperative to discuss the benefits and risks of fetal surgery with the appropriate healthcare professionals. The specialized surgery should only be performed by very experienced experts at a fully equipped health care facility.