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What are the types of spina bifida?

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Spina bifida is a relatively common birth defect in the U.S. It prevents the backbone that protects your baby’s spine from fully forming during pregnancy. That can lead to physical and mental problems.

There are three main types of spina bifida:

Spina bifida occulta (SBO): This is the most common and mildest form of the defect. Many people don't even know they have it. The spinal cord and nerves are usually fine, but there might be a small gap in the spine. People often find out they have SBO when they get an X-ray for some other reason.

Meningocele: This rare type of spina bifida happens when a sac of spinal fluid (but not the spinal cord) pushes through an opening in the baby's back. Some people have few or no symptoms, while others have problems peeing and pooping.

Myelomeningocele: This is the most severe type of spina bifida. Here, the baby's spinal canal is open in one or several places in the lower or middle back, and a sac of fluid pokes out. This sac also holds part of the spinal cord and the nerves, and those parts get damaged.

From: What Is Spina Bifida? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Spina Bifida Association: "What is Spina Bifida?"

National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke: "Spina Bifida Fact Sheet."

Mayo Clinic: "Spina Bifida."

CDC: "Spina Bifida."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

SOURCES:

Spina Bifida Association: "What is Spina Bifida?"

National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke: "Spina Bifida Fact Sheet."

Mayo Clinic: "Spina Bifida."

CDC: "Spina Bifida."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

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What are symptoms of spina bifida occulta, meningocele, and myelomeningocele?

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