It is a question that is asked quiet often by most people and yes by those who have had a child born with it.
Spina Bifida is a congenital neurological tube defect of the spinal column. It can range from very mild to the severest form of the defect dependent upon where the opening in the spine is located.
Spina Bifida Occulta the most common form out of the three is also the most unlikely to catch until much later in life through oddly enough a simple X-ray of the back and spinal column. about 10 to 20 percent out of all healthy people may not know they have this type usually. Though it can show symptoms.
Forms of Occulta
There are forms of Spina Bifida Occulta that do cause problems though. They are:
Lipomyelomeningocele and lipomeningocele — this is like a tethered spinal cord, except it is attached to a benign fatty tumor;
Thickened filum terminale — the end of the spinal cord is too thick;
Fatty filum terminale — there is a fatty lump at the inside end of the spinal cord;
Diastematomyelia (split spinal cord) and diplomyelia — the spinal cord is split in two, usually by a piece of bone or cartilage; and
Dermal sinus tract (with involvement of the spinal cord) — the spinal canal and the skin of the back are connected by what looks like a band of tissue.
Signs of Occulta
People can have these forms of Spina Bifida Occulta even if there is nothing wrong with the spine. However, there can be neurological complications associated with SBO. The most frequently occuring complication is a tethered spinal cord. A tethered cord occurs when the spinal cord (usually at the lower end) is not attached correctly to the rest of the body. The cord gets stretched and damaged.
The signs and symptoms of a possible neurological complication like a tethered spinal cord include:
Pain in the back or legs;
Weakness in the legs;
numbness or other changes in feeling in the legs or back;
Deformed legs, feet and back; and
Change in bladder or bowel function.
People who could have a spinal cord problem should see a health care provider right away.
What about people with no signs of a problem?
Eighty percent of those with a spinal cord problem will have skin over the defect with:
a hairy patch;
a fatty lump;
a hemangioma — a red or purple spot made up of blood vessels;
a dark spot or a birth mark — these are red and don’t include blue-black marks, called “Mongolian spots”;
a skin tract (tunnel) or sinus — this can look like a deep dimple, especially if it’s too high (higher than the top of the buttocks crease), or if its bottom can’t be seen; and
a hypopigmented spot — an area with less skin color.
Information above curteousy of Spina Bifida Association.
Another form is
Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele with Hydrocephalus
Which is the version I have. After talking with my mother about it I realized it was actually the severest form of it and I also realized how lucky I had become since often time if the opening is up any higher it would often lead to more severe complications, meaning I would not be able to speak, move my head or other part so of my body or function at all really because of where it was located. Mine thankfully was located in the lower back region. Any higher than that and I would not be here to type this posting. And it is not without it’s own complications in its self. There were many surgeries we had to endure during the first years of my life. Many fears anguish. So I can not say it is all roses and perfume. It was not. But we made it through it and I can say I am now a 35 year old woman healthy and crazier than ever. I won’t go into great detail of what all happened unless you ask me. But I will answer any questions you have in this post in the comments section. 🙂 Please don’t hesitate to ask anything. I will do my best to answer them.
Courteous of Wikipedia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spina_bifida
This type of spina bifida often results in the most severe complications. In individuals with myelomeningocele, the unfused portion of the spinal column allows the spinal cord to protrude through an opening. The meningeal membranes that cover the spinal cord form a sac enclosing the spinal elements. Spina bifida with myeloschisis is the most severe form of myelomeningocele. In this type, the involved area is represented by a flattened, plate-like mass of nervous tissue with no overlying membrane. The exposure of these nerves and tissues make the baby more prone to life-threatening infections such as meningitis.[not specific enough to verify]
The protruded portion of the spinal cord and the nerves that originate at that level of the cord are damaged or not properly developed. As a result, there is usually some degree of paralysis and loss of sensation below the level of the spinal cord defect. Thus, the more cranial the level of the defect, the more severe the associated nerve dysfunction and resultant paralysis may be. People may have ambulatory problems, loss of sensation, deformities of the hips, knees or feet, and loss of muscle tone.
The least common out of all three forms.
The least common form of spina bifida is a posterior meningocele (or meningeal cyst). In this form, the vertebrae develop normally, but the meninges are forced into the gaps between the vertebrae. As the nervous system remains undamaged, individuals with meningocele are unlikely to suffer long-term health problems, although cases of tethered cord have been reported. Causes of meningocele include teratoma and other tumors of the sacrococcyxand of the presacral space, and Currarino syndrome.
A meningocele may also form through dehiscences in the base of skull. These may be classified by their localisation to occipital, frontoethmoidal, or nasal. Endonasal meningoceles lie at the roof of the nasal cavity and may be mistaken for a nasal polyp. They are treated surgically. Encephalomeningoceles are classified in the same way and also contain brain tissue.
And to be totally honest I am myself still learning about my condition as I learn I will share with you. And this post maybe altered as I find more accurate information from SB sites.