Using the following tests, healthcare practitioners may typically (but not always) identify and diagnose fetal myelomeningocele during pregnancy.
Fetal (prenatal) ultrasound: This is the most precise method of detecting myelomeningocele during pregnancy. Ultrasounds are routinely advised by healthcare providers throughout the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.
Amniocentesis: A needle is utilized to collect a fluid sample from the amniotic sac around your unborn child.This is done if the fetal ultrasound verifies the diagnosis of myelomeningocele.
Blood test: During the 16th to 18th week of pregnancy, your physician will conduct a screening assessment to determine the level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in your blood.
If myelomeningocele was not discovered during pregnancy, healthcare practitioners may utilize imaging tests after delivery to identify it, such as a CT (computed tomography) scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
Myelomeningocele is often treated with surgery to close the hole in your baby’s spine. Healthcare practitioners may conduct fetal surgery (before birth) or postnatal surgery (after birth). Hydrocephalus is common in babies with myelomeningocele (fluid buildup in their brain). Your infant may need a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt to remove excess fluid from their brain. Most youngsters will need lifetime therapy to manage difficulties caused by spinal cord and nerve injury.