Reference Index - Pediatrics

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Meningocele repair - series

Normal anatomy:
Normal anatomy

A birth defect involving an abnormal opening in the spinal bones (vertebrae) is called spina bifida. The spinal vertebrae have not formed and joined normally, leaving an opening.



Indication:
Indication

A defect which also includes a small, moist sac (cyst) protruding through the spinal defect, containing a portion of the spinal cord membrane (meninges), spinal fluid, and a portion of spinal cord and nerves is called a meningocele, myelomeningocele, or meningomyelocele.



Procedure:
Procedure

Surgical treatment is needed to repair the defect and is usually done within 12 to 24 hours after birth to prevent infection, swelling, and further damage.

While the baby is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), an incision is made in the sac and some of the excess fluid is drained off. The spinal cord is covered with the membranes (meninges) and the skin is closed over the protruding meninges, spinal cord, and nerves.



Aftercare:
Aftercare

The long-term result depends on the condition of the spinal cord and nerves. Outcomes range from normal development to paralysis (paraplegia).

Infants may require about 2 weeks in the hospital after surgery.




Review Date: 10/16/2006
Reviewed By: J.A. Lee, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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