Type of disease: Rare conditions

Lipomyelomeningocele is a congenital birth defect affecting the spine in one to two of every 10,000 children born. The defect can be detected at birth in most cases, and is typically confirmed with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). It presents as a large lump or mass in the child’s middle or lower back. This is not typically painful. The lump is associated with abnormal fat accumulation below the skin and that can affect the spinal cord. Symptoms are neurological including weakness, back or leg pain, numbness, and bladder or bowel incontinence. Surgical treatment is recommended beginning at 2 months of age or later at the time of diagnosis. Surgery may be able to release the attachment of fat to the spinal cord or reduce the size of the fat mass. Lipomyelomeningocele is related to other spinal cord lipomas.

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