Spina bifida is a congenital disability when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly. This is a kind of birth defect that affects the neural tube. The neural tube is a structure in an unborn baby that develops into the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding tissues.
When the neural tube doesn't close all the way, the backbone protecting the spinal cord does not form and close as it should. This often results in damage to the nerves and the spinal cord.
The two main spina bifida treatment options are fetal surgery during pregnancy or surgery on the baby right after birth.
Spina Bifida surgery after birth (Postnatal Spina Bifida Repair)
During postnatal spina bifida surgery, your pregnancy is monitored, and a cesarean delivery is scheduled at 37 weeks.
Spina Bifida surgery before birth (Prenatal Spina Bifida Repair)
Prenatal repair of MMC prevents further damage as spinal cord damage progresses during gestation.
A prenatal repair could offer significantly better results than traditional postnatal repair:
The cost of Spina Bifida treatment includes the following:
The overall cost of the procedure also varies based on the patient's condition and preferences. Some of these factors are:
Certain tests are done before a spina bifida treatment, such as maternal blood tests, ultrasound, and maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) test. The cost for these tests is generally included in the package.
All the medicines bought during the stay in the hospital are included in the package. When the patient is discharged, any medicines consumed outside the hospital are not covered in the package.
Babies who undergo post-natal surgery for spina bifida remain in the hospital for one to three weeks. After the surgery, the baby needs to spend 3-4 hours in the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit and then be monitored in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The surgeon needs to see the baby for follow-up four to six weeks after he goes home. The baby needs to visit sooner if stitches need to be removed.
After the surgery, many babies develop hydrocephalus, which is an extra CSF around their brain and spinal cord. It is treated with an additional operation that charges extra.
Spina bifida is a birth defect, and all the regular health insurance plans provide coverage for congenital diseases.
Physiotherapy and medications are used to treat some of the effects of spina bifida. They are needed throughout a patient’s life to manage the complications.
Children with Spina Bifida are often cared for by various medical professionals, including a Neurologist, Orthopaedist, and Physical Therapist.
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Prenatal surgery significantly improves the rate of ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement (44% prenatal surgery versus 84% postnatal), hindbrain herniation at 12 months of age (64% prenatal versus 96% postnatal), and independent walking at 30 months of age (45% prenatal versus 24% postnatal).
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Spina Bifida Explained by Dr. Mandar Agashe of SRCC Hospital, Mumbai
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