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— c  This form of spina bifida usually requires surgery within 24 to 48 hours after birth
(2). Doctors surgically tuck the exposed nerves and spinal cord back inside the spinal canal and cover
them with muscle and skin. Prompt surgery helps prevent additional nerve damage and infection.
However, nerve damage that already has occurred cannot be reversed. Soon after surgery, a physical
therapist teaches parents how to exercise their baby¶s legs and feet to prepare for walking with leg braces
and crutches. Many children with a defect in the lower spine can walk with or without these devices,
although most children with a defect high in the spine require a wheelchair.

— Ñ 
  According to the Spina Bifida Association (SBA), many children with myelomeningocele are
allergic to latex (natural rubber), possibly due to repeated exposures during surgeries and medical procedures
(4). Symptoms include watery eyes, wheezing, hives, rash and even life-threatening breathing problems.
Doctors should consider using nonlatex gloves and equipment during procedures on individuals with spina bifida.
Affected individuals and their families should avoid latex items often found in the home and community, such as
most baby bottle nipples, pacifiers and balloons. A list of safe and unsafe items is available from the Spina Bifida
Association.

Ñ    At least 80 percent of children with myelomeningocele have normal intelligence (4).
However, some have learning problems.

— ÿith treatment, children with spina bifida usually can become active individuals. Most live normal or near-normal
life spans (6).

ÿ 
    
      
More information is available from:

— [enters for Disease [ontrol and Prevention ([D[)


— American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
— Spina Bifida Association