What's the treatment for neural tube defects?
No treatment is available for anencephaly. The newborn with open neural tube defects should be kept warm and the defect covered with a sterile saline dressing. The patient should be positioned in the prone position to prevent pressure
on the defect.
Aggressive surgical and medical management has improved survival and function of infants with spina bifida. Surgery closes the defect, providing protection against injury and infection. Walking may be achieved with orthopedic devices. A common complication that may occur before or after surgical correction is the accumulation of excessive cerebral spinal fluid (hydrocephaly) in the major cavities within the brain. Hydrocephaly is usually treated with the placement of a mechanical shunt, which allows cerebral spinal fluid from the ventricles to drain into the circulation or into another body cavity. A number of medical and surgical procedures have been used to protect the urinary system. Encephaloceles are usually repaired by surgery soon after birth. The success of surgery often depends on the amount of brain tissue involved in the encephalocele.
It has been found that 400 mcg of folic acid taken for two to three months prior to conception and two to three months following conception protects the fetus against most neural tube defects. While there are a number of foods (green leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, orange juice) that are good sources of natural folic acid, synthetic folic acid is available in over-the-counter multivitamins and a number of fully fortified breakfast cereals.