Definitions

Terminology related to Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus

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Abduction
sideways movement of the limbs away from the midline
Adduction
sideways movement toward the midline
Anencephaly
open neural tube defect with absent brain development, leading to early death
Ankle foot orthosis
brace extending from below the knee to the toes to support the ankle
Anterior fontanel
the soft spot on the front of the head of an infant
Anticholinergic medication
drug used to relax the bladder
Apnea
when breathing stops for more than 5-10 seconds
Arthrodesis
the surgical fixation of a joint
Ataxia
a neurologic condition in which coordination of movement is impaired
Attention deficit
a specific difficulty with concentration that can impair school performance and social relationships
Autonomic nervous system
the nerves that regulate automatic functions of the body
Bladder irrigation
flushing the bladder with fluid through a catheter
Bladder augmentation
bladder surgery to enlarge the bladder
Brace
an aid for the support of a joint
Brainstem
the lower portion of the brain important for breathing and other vital functions
Calcaneovalgus
a foot deformity in which the heel is turned outward and the front part of the foot is elevated
Catheter
a hollow tube used to drain the bladder
Cecostomy
a procedure to do enemas through a tube in the abdomen instead of the rectum
Central nervous system
the brain and spinal cord
Cerebellum
small part of the nervous system situated at the back of the brain, which is concerned with coordination of movements and bodily functions
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
the clear liquid that flows inside and outside the brain and spine
Cervical
pertaining to the neck
Chiari II malformation
condition which frequently accompanies spina bifida in which the lower part of the brainstem protrudes through an opening in the skull base into the upper neck
Clean intermittent catheterisation (CIC)
a technique of inserting a catheter, draining a full bladder, and then removing the catheter
Clubfoot
foot deformity, usually talipes equinovarus
Coccyx
the tailbone of the spine
Cognitive
pertaining to functions of the brain such as thinking, learning, and processing information
Constipation
difficult, infrequent defecation; sluggish action of the bowels
Continence
ability to control urination and bowel stimulation
Contracture
fixed deformity at the joints due to shortening of soft tissue and resulting in loss of range of motion
Corpus callosum
a midline structure in the brain
Cranium bifidum (encephalocele)
a defect in the skull with protrusion of brain tissue
Crede
a manoeuvre to empty the bladder by placing pressure on the lower abdomen
Cyanosis
dusky blue skin colour usually due to severe breathing problems
Decubitus
an ulcer or sore on the skin as a result of pressure
Detrusor
the bladder muscle
Detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia (DSD)
failure of the bladder sphincter to open up when the bladder muscle contracts
Developmental delay
a significant lag between a child's age and his/her level of development
Disability
a lifelong condition affecting important activities or functions of daily living
Dislocated
a joint that is out of place, not in its socket
Dorsiflex
a backward bending of the forefoot of the ankle
Dura
the outer membrane of the meninges
Encephalocele
a defect of the skull with protrusion of brain tissue
Enema
a liquid medicine inserted into the rectum to stimulate a bowel movement
Equinovarus
similar to equinus, with additional inward turning of the forefoot
Equinus
deformity of the foot in which the heel is pulled up and the forefoot is pulled down
Eversion
movement of the foot in which the sole turns outward away from the midline
Expressive language
the ability to express ideas in words and sentences
Extension
the straightening of a joint; the opposite of flexion
Femur
the thighbone, extending from the pelvis to the knee
Flaccid
relaxed, flabby, having little or absent muscle tone
Flexion
the bending of a joint; the opposite of extension
Gait
the style of walking
Gastrocs
the calf muscles
Hamstrings
the large muscles at the back of the thigh
Handicap
an environmental or attitudinal barrier facing a person with a disability
Heel cord
the Achilles tendon below the calf muscle
Hip adductors
the muscles on the inside of the thigh that move the leg sideways toward the midline
Hydrocephalus
excessive cerebrospinal fluid in and around the brain
Hydromyelia
increased fluid in the central canal of the spinal cord
Hydronephrosis
widening and enlargement of the ureters and the collecting system of the kidneys
Hypersensitivity
heightened sensitivity to a stimulus of some kind, ie touch, taste, hearing
Hypertonia
a neurologic condition in which muscles have excessive contraction when they are stretched, that is, spasticity
Hypotonia
a neurologic condition of low tone, that is, floppiness
Heal conduit
surgical procedure to drain the kidneys through an opening on the abdomen, thus bypassing the bladder
Impaction
severe constipation
Impairment
physical (or mental) problem in the individual that has the potential to interfere with functional activities
Incontinent
passing of urine or feces at unwanted or unexpected times
Inversion
movement of the foot in which the sole turns toward the midline
Knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO)
brace extending from upper thigh to the toes to support the knee and ankle
Kyphosis
a humplike curvature of the spine, commonly found in the region of the myelomeningocele
Latex
the sap of the rubber tree which is used to make products such as balloons, rubber catheter and enema devices, surgical gloves, condoms, etc.
Learning disability
a specific difference in learning that leads to underachievement in school
Lesion
site of damage or injury
Ligament
fibrous bands that hold bones together in the region of a joint
Lipoma
swelling made of fat; sometimes found with myelomeningocele
Locomotion
moving by walking, crawling, or the like
Lordosis
an abnormally increased curvature of the spine, causing a hollow appearance in the lower back
Lumbar
the lower part of the back
Macrocephaly
an abnormally large head size
Meninges
fibrous sheaths that envelop the brain and spinal cord
Meningocele
a protrusion of the meninges, without brain or spinal cord, through a defect in the spine or skull
Microcephaly
an abnormally small, head, usually accompanied by developmental delay
Myelomeningocele
a protrusion of the spinal cord through a defect in the spine
Neural placode
abnormal, splayed-open nerve tissue at the site of a neural tube defect
Neural tube
the part of the embryo that develops into the brain and spinal cord
Neurogenic bladder
the condition of the bladder in spina bifida, in which it does not fill or empty normally
Neurosurgeon
a surgeon specializing in the treatment of brain and spinal cord problems
Nystagmus
involuntary jerking movement of the eye in any direction
Occupational therapist
a health care professional who addresses the issues of fine motor and perceptual motor skills, daily living skills, academic and prevocational concerns, seating and mobility, home and school accessibility
Orthopedic surgeon
a surgeon specializing in the treatment of bones, joints, and muscles
Orthosis
a device used to correct, prevent, or support deformities to improve function of movable body parts
Orthotist
a person specially trained in making and modifying orthoses
Osteoporosis
brittle bones with deficient calcium; bones can fracture easily
Osteotomy
the surgical cutting of a bone to improve alignment
Paralysis
loss of muscle activity or movement
Parplegia
paralysis of both legs
Parapodium
a crutchless standing device utilized for young children with paraplegia
Patella
the kneecap
Pediatrician
a doctor who specialises in the treatment of children
Physiotherapist
a health care professional who addresses the issues of gross motor skills, including standing and walking abilities; also assesses joint range and muscle strength, and provides prescription and training in the use of equipment and orthotics
Plantar flexion
ankle flexed so that the foot is pointing upward
Posterior fossa
region at the back of the skull
Precocious puberty
early onset of body changes and development of adult sexual features
Prone
describing the position of a person lying horizontally on the abdomen, with the face turned downward
Proximal
closer to any point of reference
Quadriceps
the group of muscles on the front of the thigh that extend the knee
Quadriplegia
paralysis of all four limbs
Rachischisis
a congenital condition in which the spinal cord is completely exposed and deformed
Range of motion
the full extent of movement of a particular joint
Receptive language
the ability to understand spoken language
Reciprocal
alternating, as feet alternate in walking
Reciprocating gait orthosis (RGO)
a brace extending from the chest to the foot allowing alternating movement of the legs for walking
Reflex
an involuntary response to a specific stimulus
Reflux
abnormal backward flow of urine from the bladder up the ureters toward the kidney
Renal
pertaining to the kidneys
Sacrum
the triangular bone at the base of the spine that is firmly bound to the pelvis
Scoliosis
an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine
Seizure
sudden episodes of eye staring, twitching or thrashing of arms and/or legs; may or may not involve loss of consciousness
Sensory nerve ending
end of the nerve fibres which detect feelings of pain, pressure, temperature
Shunt
a tube that connects two spaces, usually the ventricles with the peritoneal space in the abdomen
Shunt revision
repair or replacement of the shunt through surgery
Soft tissue surgery
operations that involve lengthening muscles or tendons or releasing tight ligaments
Spasticity
permanently increased muscle tone
Speech language pathologist
a health care professional who evaluates and provides suggestions related to feeding, speech, and language skills
Sphincter
circular muscle surrounding an opening in the body
Spinal cord
part of the nervous system enclosed within the backbone which transmits impulses to and from the brain
Spinal fusion
an operation to make the spine stronger or straighter
Spinous processes
the bony projections at the back of the vertebrae
Standing frame
braces attached to a standing platform
Stoma
opening of the surgically diverted urinary conduit or bowel
Strabismus
squint or deviation of the eye
Stridor
a high-pitched or noisy breathing, especially when inhaling
Subluxation
a condition in which a joint begins to slip out of alignment
Sunset sign or sunsetting eyes
downward positioning of the eyeballs
Supine
positioned lying horizontally on the back, with the face upward
Suppository
medicine, usually with a softener or a stimulant laxative, inserted into the rectum
Swing-to gait
walking by putting both crutches forward and then lifting both feet and swinging them forward
Syringomyelia
abnormal fluid filled cavities in the spinal cord
Syrinx
a fluid filled space in the spinal cord, usually in the neck, that can cause neurologic symptoms
Talipes equinovarus
typical clubfoot deformity, with heel inversion and foot plantar flexion
Talus
the bone of the foot that meets the tibia and fibula to form the main ankle joint
Tendon Transfer
surgical procedure to move a tendon of a muscle so that the muscle pulls in another direction
Tenotomy
cutting a tendon to weaken its pull
Tethered cord
attachment of the lower end of the spinal cord to the bottom of the spinal column causing over stretching of the cord
Thoracic
pertaining to the chest or upper part of the trunk
Tibia
the larger bone in the lower leg, the shinbone
Tone
the degree of resistance of muscle to stretch
Two-point gait
walking by moving the right crutch and left leg together, then the left crutch and the right leg
Ultrasound
test using inaudible sound frequencies to produce an image of a body part
Ureters
tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder
Urethra
the tube through which urine naturally flows from the bladder during urination
Urinary retention
incomplete urination
Urodynamics
a test to measure urinary continence through measurement of bladder pressure
Urologist
a doctor who specialises in the treatment of urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra) problems
VCUG
voiding cystourethrogram: bladder x-ray
Valgus
bent outward, away from the midline
Varus
bent inward, toward the midline
Ventricles
the interconnected spaces in the brain filled with cerebrospinal fluid
Ventriculitis
an infection of the ventricles, usually involving the shunt
Ventriculoperitoneal shunt
plastic tube connecting the ventricles to the abdomen to treat hydrocephalus
Vertebrae
the bones of the spinal column (backbone)
Walker
movable aid used to provide stability
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