This is a singular congenital defect in development, in which the spinal canal is not completely closed. It generally occurs in the lower part of the spine. In consequence of the defect referred to, the soft part becomes stretched. A cystic tumor is formed, the cavity of which connects with the spinal canal, and is filled with the fluid which always exists in small quantity in the spinal cord and brain. Pressure upon the tumor will generally cause convulsions, by the pressure upon the brain. As the sac enlarges, it gradually becomes thinner, and in many cases ruptures. Generally, however, the patient dies of inflammation of the brain.

The causes of this affection are not well understood, but are undoubtedly ante-natal influences of some sort. This condition is an almost hopeless one; but a few cases of recovery have been reported.

The Treatment of Spina-Bifida - Cleft Spine

The most successful treatment has been the employment of continuous pressure, made by means of bands or adhesive straps, and withdrawal of the fluid by means of aspiration. In a few cases, a cure has taken place after the injection of iodine and other substances into the sac.