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Spine and Back Health

Spina bifida

04/07/2008

Question:

I need to know if it is at all possible for someone with myelomeningocele (spina bifida) level 5 to become strong enough so they no longer need to wear leg braces? Has it ever happened?

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. Most things in medicine that are possible have happened at one time or another. That being said, however, there are a number of issues about your question. The prognosis for any recovery of function depends greatly on the anatomy of each individual patient, and what is happening with their nerves. It also depends on whether the person has any function at all (partial function) versus complete lack of function. It is extremely uncommon for someone to regain enough strength to walk if they started with no function at all in those muscles. I hope this answers your question. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University