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Definition of Meningocele (MM)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Meningocele: Protrusion of the membranes that cover the spine and part of the spinal cord through a bone defect in the vertebral column. Meningocele is due to failure of closure during embryonic life of bottom end of the neural tube, the structure which gives rise to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). The term spina bifida refers specifically to the bony defect in the vertebral column through which the meningeal membrane and cord may protrude (spina bifida cystica) or may not protrude so that the defect remains hidden, covered by skin (spina bifida occulta). However, through usage the term spina bifida is gradually becoming synonymous with Meningocele. The risk of Meningocele (and all neural tube defects) can be decreased by the mother eating ample folic acid during pregnancy.

Reviewed on 12/13/2018

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