The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences


Matti Klein


Spina bifida is one of the most common NTD’s (neural tube defects) to occur during embryonic development, when the neural tube fails to close properly during neurulation. Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of spina bifida. Characterized by an open posterior neuropore with meninges and parts of the spinal cord protruding from the fetus’s body, it manifests in a variety of physical and neurological symptoms that vary both by the individual and by the state of the lesion. Until the late 1990’s, the standard course of treatment was surgical closure of the lesion at birth, followed by standard protocols and treatments to treat the accompanying issues. However, once the first in-utero repair of myelomeningocele was performed in 1997, a new world of possibilities opened up. In-utero repair demonstrated distinct advantages over the standard method of postnatal repair; specifically, it reduced the likelihood of hydrocephalus and hindbrain herniation and showed significant improvement in motor and neurological function. This paper will discuss, analyze, and compare the outcomes of both the prenatal and postnatal methods of repair and discuss emerging research in the field as well as some of the inherent risks of the procedure.



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