Myelomeningocele birth defect

Myelomeningocele birth defect

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Credit: DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Myelomeningocele birth defect. Doctor and nurses handling a neonate (newborn baby) with a myelomeningocele, the most severe form of the birth defect spina bifida. This condition arises from incomplete closure of the neural tube during embryonic development, preventing the bones of the spine fusing properly. If the gap in the bones is large enough, part of the spinal cord and its surrounding membranes (meninges) can protrude outwards. The resulting sac (red, a myelomeningocele) is partially seen at centre. It can cause paralysis in limbs and areas below the defect. Treatment involves surgery to correct and repair the defect.

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