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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 specializes 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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