Overview and Facts
Spina Bifida is broader term for a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth. Spina bifida includes any birth defect involving insufficient closure of the spine.
Spina bifida occulta is a condition in which the bones of the spine do not close but the spinal cord and meninges remain in place and skin usually covers the defect.
Meningoceles is a condition where the tissue covering the spinal cord sticks out of the spinal defect but the spinal cord remains in place.
A myelomeningocele is a congenital (present at birth) deformity and the most serious form of spina bifida. It can occur anywhere along the spinal cord. With myelomeningocele, the spinal canal is open.