Spina Bifida Occulta


Spine Bifida Overview

Spina bifidais latin for split spine. Spine bifida is a developmental congenital disorder(spine

and nervous system related) caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube.

The backbone is not completely formed and the spinal cord is exposed. Some vertabre

overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed and remain unfused and open. If the opening is

large enough, this allows a portion of the spinal cord to protrude through the opening in the

bones. There may or may not be a fluid-filled sac surrounding the spinal cord.

Spina bifida birth defects fall into four categories: spina bifida occulta(most common), spina bifida cystica (myelomeningocele), meningocele and lipomeningocele.

Spina bifida occulta (split spine hidden)

Spina bifida occulta is one of the mildest forms of spina bifida. In occulta, the outer part of

some of the vertebrae are not completely closed.The opening in the vertebrae is not large,

therefore the spinal cord does not stick out. The skin at the location of the defect can have;

  • Fatty lump

  • Hemangioma—a reddened or purplish spot on the skin made up of a collection of blood vessels

  • Dark spots or biri the blue-black marks called Mongolian spots

  • Skin tract (tunnel) or sinus—sometimes noted on the back as a deep dimple—especially if it is too high, i.e higher than the top of the buttocks crease, or if its bottom cannot be seen
  • Hypopigmented spot—an area with decreased skin color
  • No visable defect

     Spina Bifida Occulta often goes undiagnosed because in many cases it is asymptomatic. If

physical sighns such as a dimple are not present it may never even be considered. The birth

defect is often discovered when patients have x-rays for other reasons. This birth defect is

present in 5% - 15% of otherwise healthy people.


     Folic acid, also called folate, is an important vitamin in the development of a healthy fetus.

It is a B vitamin complex. consuming the vitamin cannot guarantee having a healthy baby, but

it can help. Recent studies have shown that that the addition of folic acid to a women's diet

greatly reduces the risks of spina bifida as well as other neural tube defects. It is strongly

recommended that all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.

Foods high in folic acid include dark green vegetables, egg yolks, and some fruits. A lot of

multivitamins contain the recommended dosage of folic acid as well. If a women is aware that

she may be at greater risk due to genetics should consume greater amounts of folic acid.

Personal reflection

Spina Bifida Occulta, may lead to other back problems as a child grows up. When I was born I was malnutritioned and had a dimple in my lower back. I personally experienced on top of spina bifida, a straight lumbar and scoliosis. When I was younger it was not to severe, I'd get minor back pains. In high school I had to quit sports sophomore year because I was in pain, from activities like running and jumping. This disorder takes a toll on a child's psyche, it made me depressed that I could not play my favorite sports like basketball. Support me by clicking on an add on this page to help me generate revenue, it costs you nothing. I am not able to perform a manual labor job, so assistance would be appreciated.

People Affected

Have you or a loved one been affected by Spina Bifida

  • I personally have it
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  • I have not come in contact with the disorder
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Comments 2 comments

Pixienot profile image

Pixienot 5 years ago from Clarksville, Indiana

My granddaughter has Spina Bifida. It must not be the occulta type. She was born with a hole in her back and the spinal cord was so tethered that surgery at 4 months of age did not fix it. She is 13 now and looking forward to back surgery when she turns 15 or so. Her one leg is drawing up. She is in a brace.

I do want to state that if one did not already know that she had Spina Bifida, they could not tell from her appearance, her attitude or her smile. She is a brilliant and very special child.

I am so proud of her and her mom!

Voted up and awesome.

WAHmom profile image

WAHmom 4 years ago

Hi, your hub is very informative but I want to make a suggestion to fix the paragraphing of your article. The sentences are broken which makes it difficult to read the contents without distraction.

Thank you.

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