A developmental anomaly characterized by a defect in the bony encasement of the spinal cord. AS a consequence the nerves of the spinal cord are exposed and often damaged. This results in bladder control problems and difficutly coordinating movements of the legs. The degree to which this anomaly impairs function depends on where in the spinal cord it occurs. The higher the lesion is on the spinal cord, the more likely there is to be significant sensory and muscle dysfunction.
Taking adequate amounts of folic acid can reduce the risk of this birth defect.