Neural tube defects (NTDs) are the second most common congenital malformations in humans affecting the development of the central nervous system. Although NTD pathogenesis has not yet been fully elucidated, many risk factors, both genetic and environmental, have been extensively reported. Classically divided in two main sub-groups (open and closed defects) NTDs present extremely variable prognosis mainly depending on the site of the lesion. Herein, we review the literature on the histological and pathological features, epidemiology, prenatal diagnosis, and prognosis, based on the type of defect, with the aim of providing important information based on NTDs classification for clinicians and scientists.
Keywords: anencephaly; neural tube defects; spina bifida.
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