Spina Bifida Essay

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There are many different types of birth defects. This paper will discuss one of the more common, spina bifida, which is a type of defect most often referred to as a neural tube defect. Spina bifida directly affects the spine and is often noticed at birth. Spina bifida does not have a specific location but can appear at any location along the spine. The neural tubes are supposed to be closed; in spina bifida this process does not happen, and damage results to the nerves and spinal cord. The severity of this damage can range from mild to severe, depending upon where the opening in the spine is and its' size, and if the spinal cord and the nerves are involved at all. Spina bifida occurs in two forms, spina bifida occulta and spina bifida cystica. The cystica class is further subdivided into myelomeningocele and meningocele. When spina bifida is mentioned in conversation, most of…show more content…
Some of the tests for diagnosis during pregnancy include ultrasound, amniocentesis, and an AFP (alfa-fetaprotein) test. An ultrasound is a non-invasive test if done abdominally, and oftentimes spina bifida can be seen as a result of the ultrasound. Amniocentesis is an invasive procedure in which a needle is inserted into the amniotic sac and a sample of amniotic fluid is obtained and tested. If the level of AFP is found to be higher than average, this could be an indication of spina bifida. The AFP is a blood test that determines the amount of AFP that has entered the mother's bloodstream from the fetus. This test might also be part of a triple screen, a procedure that searches for defects in the neural tubes and other anomalies that may be going on. If for some reason spina bifida was not diagnosed before birth, it can still be done post-birth by CT, MRI, or x-ray. On an infant spina bifida can present as a small patch of skin with hair on the back

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