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Pediatr Neurosurg. 2007;43(1):7-14.

Outcome of meningomyelocele/lipomeningomyelocele in children of northern India.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India.



To evaluate the clinical profile, associated anomalies and surgical outcome of children with meningomyelocele (MMC)/lipomeningomyelocele.


Out of a total of 181 cases of spinal dysraphism treated at our Institute between 1996 and 2004, 102 (56.35%) cases of MMC/lipomeningomyelocele were analyzed retrospectively and prospectively. The clinical profile and radiological findings of these children were recorded. Craniospinal MRI was the essential investigation and was done as a management protocol at our Institute for these children. Eighty-two out of 102 (80.3%) cases had pure MMC/lipomeningomyelocele and 20/102 (19.6%) had associated split cord malformation (SCM; complex spina bifida). All these children underwent surgery for their primary and associated malformations as indicated. They were clinically assessed over a mean follow-up period of 3.6 years ranging from 1.5 months to 8 years. No urodynamic or evoked potential studies were done to assess the sphincteric outcome following surgery.


Forty-six (45.1%) of children with MMC had other associated tethering lesions, including the presence of SCM. Craniospinal axis screening remained an important tool to understand the associated tethering lesions and malformations. Only 58.8% of children had hydrocephalus; thus the incidence was much lower compared with reports from the western literature (80-96%). 63.3% of children with overt hydrocephalus required shunt surgery prior to the definitive surgery; however, 23.3% of cases required a shunt after the MMC has been closed. Improvement in clinical profile following microneurosurgery was observed in 42.8% of cases with motor involvement, 46.8% of cases with sensory dysfunction and 39.5% of cases with sphincteric involvement. Motor improvement was seen in 43.6% of cases of pure MMC/lipomeningomyelocele as compared to only 40.0% of cases of complex spina bifida. Sensory improvement was also better in pure MMC/lipomeningomyelocele group being seen in 48.0% of cases as compared to only 42.9% of cases of complex spina bifida.


Presence of SCM with MMC is referred to as complex spina bifida and is seen in a significant proportion (19.6%) of all cases of MMC. Thorough assessment of the craniospinal imaging needs to be done to look for the presence of multiple tethering lesions which could be present in the same case. Not all children with spinal dysraphism with hydrocephalus required shunt surgery or CSF diversion but a constant and vigilant follow up could avoid it in 13.3% of cases. Improvement in motor and sensory dysfunction was better in the pure MMC/lipomeningomyelocele group than in the complex spina bifida group. Improvement in sphincteric dysfunction, although seen in significant cases, was less compared with improvement in motor and sensory dysfunction. This probably represents a lack of definitive objective criteria for urodynamic improvement and a lack of proper rehabilitation. Electromyographic studies and uroflowmetry are required to asses the true sphincteric outcome following surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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