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Meningocele vs. Meningomyelocele: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Meningocele involves a sac of spinal fluid and meninges protruding through a spinal defect, while Meningomyelocele includes spinal cord/nerves in the sac.
Meningocele vs. Meningomyelocele

Key Differences

Meningocele is a type of spinal defect where a sac containing spinal fluid and meninges (but not the spinal cord) protrudes through a gap in the vertebrae. Meningomyelocele, a more severe form, involves the protrusion of the spinal cord and/or nerve tissues within the sac.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
In Meningocele, the protruding sac does not contain neural elements, making it generally less severe than Meningomyelocele, where the sac contains parts of the spinal cord and/or nerve tissue, leading to more significant potential neurological impairments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
Meningocele might not always present with significant symptoms initially and can be sometimes identified only through imaging, whereas Meningomyelocele typically presents with more noticeable neurological deficits at birth due to the involvement of spinal cord/nerves.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
Surgical interventions for Meningocele primarily focus on repairing the protruding sac and preventing infection. In contrast, Meningomyelocele surgeries are more complex due to the involvement of the spinal cord and nerves, aiming to minimize nerve damage and manage associated conditions.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
Meningocele’s impact on a patient’s mobility and neurological function is usually less severe compared to Meningomyelocele, where the risk of complications like paralysis or bladder and bowel dysfunction is higher.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Protrusion of a sac with spinal fluid and meninges.
Protrusion of a sac containing parts of the spinal cord/nerves.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Severity

Generally less severe.
More severe, with greater risk of neurological deficits.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Symptoms

May not present significant symptoms initially.
Typically shows noticeable neurological impairments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Surgical Treatment

Focuses on repairing the sac, less complex.
More complex, aiming to minimize nerve damage.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Impact on Neurological Function

Usually less severe impact on function.
Higher risk of paralysis and bladder/bowel dysfunction.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
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Meningocele and Meningomyelocele Definitions

Meningocele

A spinal condition characterized by a protruding sac without neural elements.
Surgery was successful in treating the newborn's meningocele.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningomyelocele

A birth defect where part of the spinal cord is exposed through the spine.
Meningomyelocele often results in significant neurological impairments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningocele

A type of spina bifida where a sac of fluid protrudes through the spine.
The ultrasound revealed a meningocele in the baby's lower spine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningomyelocele

A severe form of spina bifida with spinal cord/nerves in the sac.
The baby diagnosed with meningocele actually had meningocele.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningocele

A protrusion of meninges and spinal fluid through a spinal gap.
Treatment for meningocele usually involves surgical intervention.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023
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Meningomyelocele

A condition with spinal cord and nerves herniating through the spine.
Children with meningocele require careful neurological assessment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningocele

A birth defect involving a sac of fluid from the spinal canal.
Meningocele is typically diagnosed through prenatal imaging.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningomyelocele

Spinal cord/nerves protrude through a gap in the vertebrae.
Meningocele's severity is greater due to spinal cord involvement.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningocele

A condition where meninges herniate through a vertebral defect.
Despite having a meningocele, the child showed no neurological symptoms.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningomyelocele

Protrusion of spinal cord and nerves through a spinal defect.
Meningocele surgery is complicated due to the involvement of the spinal cord.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Meningocele

A moderately severe form of spina bifida in which the meninges protrude, causing a bulge under the skin.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Meningomyelocele

(medicine) A congenital defect of the central nervous system of infants in which membranes and the spinal cord protrude through an opening or defect in the vertebral column.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Meningocele

(pathology) A form of spina bifida in which a meningeal sac of cerebrospinal fluid protrudes through the skull.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Meningocele

A congenital anomaly of the central nervous system in which a sac protruding from the brain or the spinal meninges contains cerebrospinal fluid (but no nerve tissue)
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is Meningomyelocele?

A severe form of spina bifida where the spinal cord/nerves are in the protruding sac.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What are the symptoms of Meningomyelocele?

Includes significant neurological impairments like muscle weakness or paralysis.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is Meningocele?

A spinal defect with a sac of spinal fluid and meninges protruding through the spine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What are the symptoms of Meningocele?

Can range from no symptoms to minor physical issues, depending on the case.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How is Meningomyelocele treated?

Requires more complex surgery to minimize nerve damage.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can Meningocele cause neurological problems?

It can, but generally less severe than Meningomyelocele.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can Meningomyelocele lead to paralysis?

Yes, there is a higher risk of paralysis or other serious neurological issues.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What causes Meningomyelocele?

Results from a more significant developmental defect in the spinal region.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How are Meningocele and Meningomyelocele diagnosed?

Typically diagnosed through prenatal imaging like ultrasound or MRI.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Is Meningocele a type of spina bifida?

Yes, it's a form of spina bifida.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Is Meningomyelocele a type of spina bifida?

Yes, it's a severe form of spina bifida.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can Meningocele be detected before birth?

Yes, it can be detected through prenatal imaging.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How is Meningocele treated?

Usually treated with surgery to repair the protruding sac.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can Meningomyelocele be detected before birth?

Yes, typically identified via prenatal imaging techniques.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is the long-term outlook for Meningomyelocele?

Depends on the severity, but often involves lifelong management of symptoms.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Are there developmental concerns with Meningocele?

Possible, but less severe than with Meningomyelocele.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What causes Meningocele?

Caused by a developmental defect during early pregnancy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can Meningocele be prevented?

Risk can be reduced with proper prenatal care and nutrition, like folic acid intake.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can Meningomyelocele be prevented?

While not entirely preventable, risks can be minimized with prenatal care.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is the long-term outlook for Meningocele?

Varies, but many individuals lead normal lives with proper treatment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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