Spina bifida occulta is the simplest form of the spina bifida in which only the bony defect is present but no protrusion of meninges (protective layers covering the spinal cord) and the spinal cord. Since images and videos play a key role in learning about and learning how to diagnose the condition, we will focus on visual images in this article. Therefore, this article is based on some spina bifida occulta pictures with explanations related to the causes, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of spina bifida occulta.
Figure 1: In this picture, hair tuft is shown on the skin just above the vertebra with a bony defect. A red circle is made around the hair tuft. This is the most common sign of spina bifida occulta. It is the tuft of hair on the lower back of a child that makes the neurosurgeon think about spina bifida occulta (Source: www.medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com)
Figure 2: Spina bifida occulta is a neural tube defect that appears in the fetus at 28th days as shown in this picture. The neural tube is not closed properly, perhaps due to the deficiency of folic acid in the mother’s blood. Folic acid is a vitamin that is helpful in the metabolism of proteins needed for the proper closure of the neural tube to become spine in a developing baby. Note the red circle in the right hand picture where the defect is shown in the spine. (Source: www.glogster.com)
Figure 3: In this picture, a dimple is shown on the lower back in the midline. A red circle is made around the dimple. It is also a common sign of spina bifida occulta. Due to a bony defect on the posterior side of vertebra, a space develops and skin is depressed at that point making a dimple on the skin. (Source: www.spinabifidainfo.nl)
Figure 4: In this picture another sign of spina bifida occulta is shown. A tuft of hair on the lower back is one of the typical signs of spina bifida occulta. A red circle is made around the hair tuft on this picture. (Source: www.synapse.koreamed.org)
Figure 5: In this picture, an abnormal curvature of the spine is shown which is called lordosis. This is also a sign of spina bifida occulta. Lordosis develops in the patients suffering from spina bifida as a space is present in the spinal vertebra and skin depresses due to this space and the curvature of the spine becomes irregular. (Source: www.gopixpic.com)
Figure 6: This is a picture of an x-ray of a patient with spina bifida occulta. A red circle is made on the x-ray around the bony defect. Spina bifda occulta is a hidden birth defect and it is often diagnosed accidently while performing x-rays for another problem. (Source: www.commons.wikimedia.org)
Figure 7: Another x-ray of a patient of spina bifida occulta in which bony defect is shown. Note the red circle made around that defect. A red arrow is indicating the exact position of defect on the x-ray film. (Source: www.plkshooter.hubpages.com)
Figure 8: This is the picture of CT scan of the spine of a patient with spina bifida occulta. When the diagnosis is not confirmed on x-ray film, a CT scan of the spine is advised to confirm the diagnosis. A red circle is made on the picture where the bony defect is evident in vertebra. (Source: www. en.academic.ru)
Figure 9: In this picture, the bony defect in the vertebra is shown. A red circle is made around the defect to indicate the exact position of spina bifida occulta. (Source: www.bioklinika.lv)
Figure 11: This is another picture of an ultrasound scan of the fetus while in the mother’s womb where a defect is present on the lower end of the spine through which communication is present between the spinal canal and amniotic fluid. Alpha fetoprotein is an enzyme that is present only in the spinal canal. Due to the communication between spinal canal and amniotic fluid, alpha fetoprotein enters the amniotic fluid from where it is transported to the mother’s blood. This, raised level of alpha fetoprotein in the mother’s blood indicates a neural tube defect. A red circle is made on the picture to point out the exact position of the neural tube defect in the fetus. (Source: www.feto3d.com)
Figure 12: This is the picture of magnetic resonant imaging (MRI) of the spine of a person that has spina bifida occulta. MRI is the investigation of choice. When spina bifida occulta is not diagnosed by any investigation i.e. x-ray, CT scan or ultrasound, then MRI is the final investigation that is done to diagnose spina bifida occulta. A red circle is made in this slide of MRI to identify the point where the defect in spine in present. (Source: www.radiozen.wordpress.com)
Figure 13: This is another picture of an MRI scan of a patient with spina bifida occulta. A bony defect in the vertebra is shown. A red circle is made around the specified area on the image that has a defect in vertebra. Depression on the skin is also marked in the red circle. This is seen in the MRI due to high quality of imaging. (Source: www.yhoccongdong.com)
We hope that the above collection of spina bifida occulta pictures will help you a lot!
- Horton D,Barnes P, Pendleton BD, Pollay M. Spina bifida occulta: early clinical and radiographic diagnosis. J Okla State Med Assoc 1989;82(1):15-9.
- Gregerson DM. Clinical consequences of spina bifida occulta. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997;20(8):546-50.