A meningomyelocoele describes the exposure and unfolding of the spinal cord on the back - i.e. a major failure of the folding process during development. In this condition elements of the cord and lumbosacral roots contained within a meningeal sac herniate through a defect in the lower vertebrae. 80% occur in the lumbosacral region.
The range of handicap caused by this condition is broad - in some mild cases, where the defect is small and relatively rapidly closed the prognosis is good - bladder function, mobility and intellect are all normal. On the other hand, a larger lesion can lead to anaesthesia, paralysis, incontinence - of urine and of faeces - and impairment of lower limb function.
Last reviewed 01/2018