Spina bifida means that the baby's spinal column is exposed. The most important way to protect your baby from this serious problem is to start using folic acid before pregnancy! Otherwise, a serious health problem, this disease affects the baby for life. Head of Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Acıbadem Hospital Dr. Contact memet directly "Spina bifida is the most severe anomaly of the central nervous system," he warns families.
: What is Spina bifida?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly This disease is a problem that occurs during the first three months of pregnancy when the spinal cord closes and becomes a tube. As a result, the membrane cannot form on the spinal cord because it cannot close and become a tube. Therefore, a certain area on the back of the baby is born in the open. Spina bifida is the most severe anomaly of the central nervous system. It affects the patient all his life. However, it is not difficult to avoid this disease. All you have to do is have a planned pregnancy. By taking folic acid in the 3 months before pregnancy and in the first 3 months of pregnancy, it is possible to protect your baby from a life-long illness.
: How often is seen as spina bifida in Turkey?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly Spina Bifida is considered a real health problem in our country. One in every 1000 births is Spina Bifida. This is an indication of backwardness. This disease is one of two or three factors to be looked at to measure the backwardness of the health system in a country. The ratio of 1 in 1000 is very high. There are no such cases in Denmark in the last 8 years. However, in the clinical series of Marmara University Faculty of Medicine, more than 500 operations have been performed in the last 7 years. This is a very serious figure. Our main goal as a physician is to take preventive measures to prevent these babies from being born.
: What are the causes of spina bifida?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly The most important cause of spina bifida is folic acid deficiency. Because of this deficiency, the development of the spinal cord at the end of the first month of pregnancy is lacking. So that part is exposed.
: What is the precaution?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly This is of course planned pregnancy. A woman notices that she is pregnant in the first month. After that, if folic acid is taken by weight, it is already too late. She should start taking folic acid three months before pregnancy and continue in the first three months of pregnancy. Thus, some degree of guarantee is provided for spina bifida.
: Is it treated surgically?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly Early intervention is essential in this disease. In the first 36 hours, these babies should definitely be operated on… Because the spinal cord is exposed means that the cerebrospinal fluid is exposed. If the baby gets infected, it causes meningitis. Meningitis means that a baby born with a lot of problems is struggling with a new problem. Problems awaiting these children are divided into early and late periods.
: What are the problems that await early babies?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly There are two problems that threaten the baby's life for the first month. The first is the accumulation of water in the head called hydrocephalus. The second is a problem called Chiari Type 2. The part of the skull of children with spina bifida that we call the cerebellum is also small. Therefore, the cerebellum does not fit there. Thus, it hangs down and presses on the upper spinal cord region. This causes them to be unable to breathe easily, causing problems with swallowing function. Therefore, close monitoring of the baby with Spina Bifida is essential. These problems are not limited to these children. All the spinal cord functions below the level of the spinal cord is exposed in which region is problematic. For example, if there is a problem in the lumbar region, the patient's foot movements are problematic. Urinary tract problems are also showing. Problems arise with sexual functions whether baby girl or boy.
: What are the problems awaiting late babies?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly Hydrocephalus, which is the accumulation of fluid in the brain, used in the treatment of problems with the device called shunt arises. In addition, more frequent urinary tract infections, especially in girls, constitute a serious problem. They are more susceptible to this type of disease because they are more easily infected than normal people. For this reason, children with spina bifida should be kept under close monitoring by the pediatric neurosurgery department at least until adolescence.
: Can you give information about postoperative care?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly The children who are born with spina bifida can survive with the least damage through the first 36 hours of surgery. Early surgical approach to these patients in Turkey, primarily done in the Marmara University Faculty of Medicine, including several university hospitals. In private hospitals, this surgery is performed only at the time of admission to the patient at the hospital. Postoperative care is as important as surgery. The anesthesia that should be applied to these babies during surgery is extremely important.
: Is prenatal diagnosis possible?
Professor Dr. Contact memet directly In prenatal examinations only ultrasonography may not always be sufficient to diagnose this disease. Sometimes the expectant mother goes through the ultrasound repeatedly, but the problem is not noticed. It can be put in by an experienced eye from the 4th month of pregnancy. Amniocentesis should be performed in case of doubt. If the situation is noticed, the decision whether or not to terminate pregnancy belongs to the mother and father. We, as a physician, tell the family about the problems awaiting their babies in the future. However, I would advise families who decide to give birth to the child by cesarean section in the hospital where the child will have surgery.