CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spina bifida. Young woman with spina bifida throws a horseshoe during a game. Her left leg is braced, and she is supporting her weight with a crutch. In the background is a wheelchair. Spina bifida is a congenital (birth) defect in the development of the vertebrae, leaving a portion of the spinal cord exposed. It affects most commonly the lower back. In less serious forms of spina bifida, the abnormality may go unnoticed in childhood. The deformity, however, may result in neurological symptoms such as paralysis of the legs and urinary incontinence. Treatment may involve surgery and physiotherapy, while aids to walking can encourage independence.
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