Neurosurgery guidelines for the care of people with spina bifida

Jeffrey P. Blount, Robin Bowman, Mark S. Dias, Betsy Hopson, Michael D. Partington, Brandon G. Rocque

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Myelomeningocele (MMC) arises from an early neural developmental anomaly and results in a variety of structural abnormalities and associated functional neurologic deficits. As such, neurologic issues are central to virtually all clinical problems. Neurosurgical intervention strives to correct or improve these defects and prevent secondary complications. These interventions include closure of the open myelomeningocele and management (across the life span) of hydrocephalus, the Chiari II malformation (C2M) and tethered spinal cord (TSC). The development of pre-natal closure techniques and reports of improved outcome with in-utero closure (IUMC) have revolutionized the neurosurgical approach to myelomeningocele. Controversies remain surrounding patient selection, maternal risks, technique of IUMC (endoscopic vs. open) and long-term outcomes. However, real gains include reduced rates of hydrocephalus, modestly improved motor capabilities and reduction in C2M morbidity. For many decades, the cornerstone of treatment of hydrocephalus for many decades has been the placement and support of ventricular shunts. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with or without choroid plexus coagulation (ETV/CPC) is an appealing alternate strategy that avoids the morbidity and complications associated with shunts. The exact criteria for ETV-CPC candidacy and best metrics for outcome analysis remain active areas of debate and controversy. Similarly, neurosurgical management C2M, has centered upon the indications and clinical thresholds for performing posterior fossa surgical decompression. Tethered spinal cord management incorporates the diagnosis and surgical management of adhesions formed at the initial closure site, the consequent longitudinal traction related stress on the cord and the resulting neurologic signs and symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-477
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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