Myelomeningocoele, also known as spina bifida cystica, is a complex congenital spinal anomaly that results in spinal cord malformation (myelodysplasia). 

It is one of the commonest congenital CNS anomalies and thought to occur in approximately 1:500 of live births 5. There may be a slight female predilection.

Patients present with a lower limb paralysis and sensory loss, bladder and bowel dysfunction as well as cognitive impairment.

Results from failure of fusion of neural folds dorsally during embryogenesis. 

There is a localised defect of the closure of caudal neuropore with persistence of neural placode (open spinal cord).

  • lumbosacral: ~45%
  • thoracolumbar: ~30% 
  • lumbar: ~20%
  • cervical: ~2% 
  • in utero folate deficiency
  • in utero teratogen exposure
  • may show evidence of an open neural tube defect with splayed or divergent posterior elements
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Article information

rID: 5791
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Meningomyelocele
  • Meningomyelocoele
  • Myelomeningocoeles
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Myelomeningoceles
  • Meningomyelocoeles
  • Meningomyeloceles

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: associated Chiari II
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    Case 2
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    Case 3
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    Case 4: on antenatal ultrasound
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    Case 5
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    Case 6
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    Case 7: on post natal ultrasound
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