A comparison of techniques for myelomeningocele defect closure in the neonatal period

Edward M. Kobraei, Joseph A. Ricci, Henry C. Vasconez, Brian D. Rinker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Numerous techniques have been described for repair of myelomeningoceles, but outcome data is scarce. Patients and methods: A retrospective review was performed in 32 consecutive patients who underwent neonatal myelomeningocele repair and extra-dural closure to determine the influence of repair type on outcome. All procedures for myelomeningocele closure were classified into one of three groups, which included primary closure, myocutaneous flaps, and fasciocutaneous flaps. Results: Defect size ranged from 1 to 48 cm2. Primary skin closure was performed in 3 patients, fasciocutaneous flaps in 13 patients, and myocutaneous flaps in 16 patients. The overall complication rate was 18 %. No difference in the complication rates among the primary closure, myocutaneous, and fasciocutaneous flap groups was observed in our analysis. While not statistically significant, our data documents an association of fasciocutaneous flaps with postoperative complications that were not evident with primary skin closure or myocutaneous flaps (odds ratio 3.8; p=0.15). The occurrence of one or more complications was associated with a longer hospital stay. Conclusions: Myocutaneous flaps provide a secure repair and should be considered for smaller myelomeningocele defects in addition to the larger defects where they are more traditionally used. We propose a tissue-based classification of closure techniques strictly for multi-institution outcome comparison that may ultimately inform clinical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1535-1541
Number of pages7
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Fasciocutaneous
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Myocutaneous
  • Neural tube defect
  • Spina bifida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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