Author: Kat Kolaski, MD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Orthopedics and Pediatrics, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Myelomeningocele is a complex congenital spinal anomaly that causes varying degrees of spinal cord malformation, or myelodysplasia. It is commonly referred to as spina bifida and is classified as a defect of the neural tube (ie, the embryonic structure that develops into the spinal cord and brain). Patients with myelomeningocele present with a spectrum of impairments, but the primary functional deficits are lower limb paralysis and sensory loss, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and cognitive dysfunction. Medical, surgical, and rehabilitation issues arise in the patient with myelomeningocele from birth through adulthood.
Synonyms and related keywords: open spinal dysraphism, neural tube defect, myelodysplasia, spina bifida, spina bifida cystica, spina bifida aperta, open spina bifida