South African Medical Journal

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Spina bifida: A multidisciplinary perspective on a many-faceted condition

G Fieggen, K Fieggen, C Stewart, L Padayachy, J Lazarus, K Donald, S Dix-Peek, Z Toefy, A Figaji


Open spina bifida or myelomeningocele (SBM) is the most common birth defect involving the central nervous system, second only in incidence to congenital cardiac disease. Outcomes in this disorder were poor until the mid-20th century, when modern neurosurgical techniques (closing the lesion and treating hydrocephalus) and treatment for the neuropathic bladder addressed the major causes of mortality, although SBM may still be poorly treated in the developing world. Initial management – or mismanagement – has a profound impact on survival and long-term quality of life.
AJOL African Journals Online