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Because spina bifida screening can be done during pregnancy, babies born with this neural tube defect can receive immediate medical attention. Early intervention is very important, and corrective surgery is usually performed within 24 hours of birth.
The operation consists of surgically releasing the spinal cord, replacing it in the spinal canal and covering it with muscle and skin. The success of the operation, sometimes, cannot avoid paralysis and numbness of the baby's legs.
Children with hydrocephalus, which is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities or ventricles of the brain, require drainage of the fluid, which can lead to abnormal enlargement of the size of the head. Drainage is done by inserting a thin tube called an anastomosis, which runs under the skin in the chest or abdomen, and the fluid passes safely through the child's body.
The immediate surgery Helps prevent further nerve damage from infection or trauma. However, it cannot reverse nerve damage that has already occurred and, in that case, limb paralysis and bladder and bowel problems generally remain.
However, urinary incontinence can be controlled by means of bladder catheterization and the use of medication, being necessary to carry out repeated tests to avoid kidney disease, and intestinal function through an adequate diet, specific medications and training.
The spina bifida occultgenerally does not require any treatment. The meningocele, which does not include the spinal cord, can be repaired surgically, and then paralysis usually does not occur. Hydrocephalus and bladder problems are rare in babies with meningocele, and generally develop normally.
Children with spina bifida may need orthopedic treatments and physical therapyfor long periods of time in order to strengthen the muscles and avoid the appearance of joint problems in the lower limbs.
The physical therapyit is very important and children with spina bifida should start it as soon as possible after the operation. A physical therapist will teach parents how to perform early stimulation on the baby, training them to exercise the legs and feet, and prepare them for the use of braces and Canadian crutches or canes in the arms later. Dislocation, subluxation, and dysplasia are common hip problems.
The treatment to be followed consists of correcting any present deformity and preventing others from developing, while trying to improve any movement that may occur in the limbs and strengthen the muscle groups that produce it. Treatment is aimed at stimulating the child, according to normal development, to turn, crawl, sit and walk with orthoses, according to their need.
The stimulation of the limbs is performed with massages and passive mobilizations of the joints throughout the range of motion, starting with the toes, ankles, knees, hips and trunk. These mobilizations help to maintain flexibility avoiding tendon shortening and improving circulation.
The severity of paralysis in children is determined, in large part, by the specific spinal nerves involved. In general, the higher the spinal damage, the more severe the paralysis, but with treatment, children with spina bifida can usually become active individuals.
Recent advances in medicine, such as efficient surgical techniques, antibiotic therapy and the use of auxiliary equipment, allow people with spina bifida to lead a fairly full, active life and to dream of an optimistic future.
You can read more articles similar to Spina bifida. Treatment and rehabilitation in babies, in the category of Childhood Diseases on site.