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All about neural tube defects causes of neural tube defects symptoms of neural tube defects diagnosis of neural tube defects treatment for neural tube defects

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.

More information on neural tube defects

What are neural tube defects? - Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common birth defects of the brain and spinal cord that include anencephaly and spina bifida (meningomyelocele).
What causes neural tube defects? - The most common causes of neural tube defects are insufficient folic acid in the mother's diet. All pregnancies are at risk for an neural tube defect.
What're symptoms of neural tube defects? - Spina bifida is the most common type of neural tube defect. Anencephaly is a neural tube defect.
How are neural tube defects diagnosed? - At birth, the diagnosis of a neural tube defect is usually obvious based on external findings. Prenatal diagnosis may be made with ultrasound examination.
What's the treatment for neural tube defects? - No treatment is available for anencephaly. Aggressive surgical and medical management has improved survival and function of infants with spina bifida.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005