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Am I suffering from spina bifida?

Q: I am a 20 years old student who has been diagnosed with terminal lipomenigocoele with tethered cord at S1-S2 with a neurogenic bladder. I was operated for S1-S2 laminectomy last year. After operation, my MRI showed that I may have arachnoiditis. My bladder and bowel function has not been restored yet. Am I suffering from spina bifida? Is terminal lipomenigocoele related to spina bifida? Can any person get arachnoiditis at this age? Does clumping of nerves indicate arachnoiditis?

A:From your description you needed laminectomy. In spina bifida, lamina do not form well (either partially or completely). It is possible you had partially deficient lamina therefore you needed laminectomy for the lipomenigocoele. Tethered cord may also be part of this. Arachnoiditis can occur after any surgical intervention on the spinal cord. This is especially so in surgeries that require opening up the dura (a covering of the spinal cord) and exposure of the nerve roots. Age has nothing to do with this. Usually, it appears after a delay from surgery. Clumping of nerves is a feature of arachnoiditis.

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