Sunday, October 2, 2011

What is Spina Bifida

Before Carson was diagnosed with Spina Bifida I had no idea what it was. I had heard of it but did not understand it at all. Now I know, Now I have way tooo much knowledge. LOL. So quickly and as best as possible I'd like to explain to those who may not know.

Someone born with spina bifida has an opening in the spine. A healthy spine is closed to protect the spinal cord, a bundle of nerves that sends messages back and forth between your brain and the rest of your body.
During pregnancy, the spine and spinal cord are developing. But sometimes part of the spinal cord and spine don't grow the way they should, leaving an opening where the spinal cord may protrude outside the body. When this happens, a baby is born with spina bifida, a term that means "split or open spine."
Because of the opening in the spine, the nerves of the spinal cord may be damaged. There are different forms of spina bifida

occulta , the opening in the person's back is covered by muscle and skin and the spinal cord is usually normal. There may be some problems with the spine, or there may be no problems at all.

Another type of spina bifida is called meningocele. This involves the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningocele is the name used when just the meninges — no nerves — push through the opening in the vertebrae. The meninges form a fluid-filled sac that is usually covered with skin. The spinal cord is normal and a person with a meningocele usually has no problems. A person with meningocele will need surgery to prevent any nerve damage later.

The last one I will discuss and the type which Carson has is myelomeningocele, from words meaning "spine" and "swelling." In this type, the baby is born with a sac protruding from the opening in the spine. This sac contains nerves and part of the spinal cord. About 1 in 1,000 babies born in the United States has this type of spina bifida.