Myelo-meningocele: A multi-disciplinary problem
Background: Myelo-meningoceles are part of congenital afflictions of the spinal column. They arise from the failure of the neural tube to fuse properly during early embryonic growth. The causes and sequalae are multiple and, therefore, require multiple disciplines, to handle them. This study assessed the role of inter-disciplinary approach in the management of myelomeningoceles. Materials and Methods: From 1975 to 2007, the author repaired 20 midline lumbar and lumbo-sacral myelo-meningoceles; 5 in Jamaica and 15 in Nigeria. There were 11 males and 9 females. Their ages, at operation, ranged from 1 to 168 days. All had urine and faecal incontinence and severe paraparesis to paraplegia. Skeletal deformities were present in 16 cases. The operations were carried out under routine general anaesthesia and in prone position. All cases were followed-up for up to 60 months, apart from one who died 4 days at home after discharge. Results: There were no deaths within the period of hospitalisation, usually about 14 days. Those followed-up have not made much improvement, though they were able to sit up without support and move around by shifting on their buttocks on the floor. Conclusion: We must continue to help these patients, but under the umbrella of specialised rehabilitation centres with the different specialists working together to make these patients attain a meaningful life and be useful to themselves and the society.
Keywords: Disciplines, multiple, myelo-meningocele, problems