Meningomyelocele (myelomeningocele) is a type of spina bifida. It is a congenital defect of the vertebrae and spinal cord that affects about 2 in every 1000 babies, and results in a protuberant sac on the back that contains cerebrospinal fluid, meninges (covering of the spinal cord or brain) and spinal nerve tissue. The affected vertebrae lack their normal bony arch across the back of the spinal cord. There is usually some degree of disruption to the nerve supply of the organs and structures below the level of the meningomyelocele and there may be other abnormalities of leg development.
Immediate surgical repair by experienced neurosurgeons is required in order to preserve as much nerve function as possible. Hydrocephalus, bowel and bladder incoordination, meningitis and other infections may be complicating factors.
Meningo (covering of spinal cord) – Myelo (spinal cord or brain material) – Cele (cyst)