South African Medical Journal

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Hydrocephalus in spina bida

T Morgado, A Figaji


Hydrocephalus is one of the most common complications of spinal dysraphism. Although few patients require cerebrospinal fluid diversion immediately at birth or within the first few days of life, most patients with myelomeningocele, which comprises the most prevalent, clinically significant form of spina bifida, will eventually need surgical treatment for hydrocephalus at some point following closure of the spinal defect. Furthermore, symptomatic hydrocephalus needs to be dealt with timeously, as these patients not only face the usual ill-effects of raised intracranial pressure (ICP), but also have an increased risk of breakdown of the myelomeningocele repair. Poorly treated ICP may also cause the Chiari II malformation to become symptomatic.

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