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Baby has asymmetrical natal cleft. Is it always a tethered spine or spina bifida or can it be harmless?

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Gastroenterologist, Surgical
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What does it mean when an 8 month old baby has an asymmetrical natal cleft. Is it always a tethered spine or spina bifida or can it be harmless? We are waiting to see a doctor in neurosurgery. If tethered spine when is it too late to operate or rather what is the best age?
Posted Sat, 15 Sep 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Ketan Vagholkar 8 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
An asymmetrical natal cleft may not always mean spina bifida. There can be other causes as well. When associated with a post anal dimple or a tuft of hair or associated with anal incontinence and weakness in the lower extremities then it is always spina bifida.
Clinical examination followed by radiological confirmation has to be done at the earliest.
Once diagnosed surgical intervention if associated with tethered nerve roots is mandatory at the earliest to offer the best chance of recovery.
I hope this answers your querry.
With regards
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