May 10, 2021
Some media coverage of UCLH Spina Bifida unit on the BBC. Dr Fred Ushakov is a proud member of this clinic screening dozens of Spina Bifida cases a year from all over the UK. At City Ultrasound we screen for Spina Bifida from 10 weeks of pregnancy in our first trimester anomaly scan, also known as the Early Fetal Scan.
What is Spina Bifida?
Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect affecting the development of the spine and spinal cord of the baby. The neural tube is an embryonic structure that ends up forming the baby’s brain and spinal cord. There are three types of Spina Bifida; occulta, meningocele and myelomeningocele. Occulta (Latin for ‘hidden’) is the mildest form of Spina Bifida with symptoms including a hairy patch on the back or a dark spot on the back.
Myelomeningocele is the most severe anomaly and is commonly referred to as ‘open Spina Bifida’. The spinal canal remains open along several vertebrae in the back and exposing the baby’s tissues and nerves and forming a sac. Open Spina Bifida is associated with many other medical issues and is potentially life threatening for the baby. Some of the common complications associated with this type are: walking problems, orthopaedic issues, bowel issues, latex allergy, dermatological problems and accumulation of fluid in the brain.
According to the FMF, at 12 weeks the prevalence of Open Spina Bifida is 1 in 1,000 fetuses. In reality we believe that the condition is less prevalent in the UK but is still one of the most common neural tube defects. At City Ultrasound we screen for Spina Bifida from 10 weeks in our Early Fetal Scan.
Some of the risk factors for Spina Bifida include; folate deficiency (read our blog post on the Folic Acid), genetic history if neural tube defects, diabetes, certain medications and obesity.