Concept map

Spina Bifida

Concept map






Spina Bifida Occulta (SBO)

Spina Bifida Cystica (SBC)

All women of childbearing age, whether they are trying to

conceive or not, should consume 0.4mg of folic acid per day to

prevent having a child with spina bifida; women who have

previously had a child with spina bifida should consume 4mg of

folic acid per day

1,645 babies are born with spina bifida every year in the

United States Hispanic women

have the highest rate of having a child with

spina bifida


Health MeasuresImpaired mobility and

urinary and bowel incontinence can cause delays in developmental milestones, such as toilet training; spina bifida can

also have impacts on long- term milestones like forming

sexual relationships and child-bearing

Complications such as hydrocephalus,

seizures, and infections can

cause cognitive delays

Assessment Findings

Lab Studies






Diagnosis is based on clinical manifestations and examination

of the meningeal sac Neurological exams can

determine the impact on bowel and bladder function and the neuromuscular affect on the

lower extremities

MRIs, CTs, and ultrasounds can be used to evaluate the

brain and spinal cord Prenatal ultrasounds can also be used to scan the uterus for signs of neural tube defects

prior to birth

Amniotic fluid can be tested during pregnancy for indications of neural tube defects, such as elevated levels of α-


Signs &


SBO is not always apparent on inspection

and may be asymptomatic

Possible cutaneous manifestations include: a

skin depression or dimple, dark tufts of hair, or port-

wine nevi

A visible, external, sac-like protrusion on the lumbrosacral area S/S vary based on the degree and location of the spinal defect, and

can include: Sensory impairment, partial

paralysis of the lower extremities, overflow incontinence, lack of bowel control, bladder and anal sphincter paralysis, rectal prolapse, and

joint deformities Demographics

Fecal continence can often be restored with

proper nutrition (adequate fiber intake), regular bowel training, and

constipation prevention

50-70% of neural tube defects could be

prevented with adequate folic acid intake; thus, lack of education and access to quality, fortified foods greatly increase the risk of giving birth to a child

with spina bifida

Surgical closure of the sac is recommended within the first 24 hours to prevent complications such as infection,

rupture, and trauma to the exposed tissue Broad-spectrum antibiotics are

initiated early for infection prevention Physical therapy may be necessary if there are musculoskeletal deformities

Clean intermittent catheterization, temporary urinary diversion, or

augmentation enterocystoplasty may be required depending on the level of

bladder dysfunction

A genetic anomaly resulting in a fissure in the spinal

column, leaving the meninges and spinal cord exposed.

Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs during embryonic development.


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