For unknown reasons,
the embryo's neural tube (which develops
into the brain, spinal cord,
and vertebral column) fails to form properly
This means an open spinal column,
that is incompletely formed and is
exposed to the air, not covered by skin.
This results in varying degrees of
permanent damage to the spinal cord
and the nervous system."
Since the spinal cord does not form
and close properly,
other defects can happen in the nervous system.
These include the areas mentioned above;
hydrocephalus, syringohydromyelia and
Possible problems happen with the bowel
and bladder function. Spine related roblems,
respiratory, and swallowing difficulties are
sometimes results of these defects
in the nervous system. (reference)
These children will need to see many physicians
and therapists for follow up. Physical therapy and
early intervention are important. Treatment for
bowel or bladder problems as well as bracing
for the legs or spine are often necessary.
Multidisciplinary spina bifida clinics
have spinal bifida specialists.
Children with spina bifida commonly have a
Chiari Malformation, Type I or II. The Chiari
may or may not cause problems.
Some references state that all children
with spina bifida have some degree
of Type II malformation.
The type of symptoms that can occur with
Chiari malformations include repeated choking,
breathing stops, neck pains, and complaints
of weakness or funny feelings in the arms.