Spina Bifida

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Spina Bifida

Specialized Spina Bifida Care to Help Kids Thrive

Baby being examined for spina bifida.

Spina bifida is a birth defect that happens when a baby’s backbone (spine) doesn’t form like it should. The spinal cord (a bundle of nerves that runs down the center of the spine) and the nerves that branch out of it may be damaged. "Spina bifida" is Latin for "split spine." The effects can vary based on how severe the condition is and how much it damages the nerves of the spinal cord. At Nemours, we can provide expert surgical treatment for spina bifida. And our specialists are here to help give babies like yours the best chance at a healthy future.

Learn More About Spina Bifida

Conditions We Treat

At Nemours, we see children for both forms of spina bifida:

  1. spina bifida occulta (when gaps in the backbone aren’t large enough for the spinal cord to fit through, so it stays hidden under the skin)
  2. spina bifida aperta, which includes two types:

    1. meningocele (when the protective tissue around the spinal cord protrudes from the baby’s back, but the cord itself stays tucked inside)

    2. myelomeningocele (the most severe form — when both the protective tissue and the spinal cord itself stick out of the body at birth)

Services We Offer

Babies born with meningocele or myelomeningocele will need to have surgery soon after they’re born. Those with myelomeningocele may need long-term follow-up care to help with any nerve damage.

At Nemours, we offer a variety of treatment services, which may vary depending on the condition or location, including:

Why Choose Us

Our world-renowned orthopedics program has experience dealing with the surgical treatment of spina bifida. We also work with families to address children’s physical and emotional needs. We continue to regularly see kids as they grow so we can identify any current or possible problems — and correct them as quickly as possible.

Regional Spina Bifida Highlights

Services, programs and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.

US News top children's hospital for orthopedics 2018-19

We offer complete spina bifida care at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware (Wilmington, Del.) and select satellite Nemours Children's Health locations.

We offer complete spina bifida care at Nemours Children’s Hospital (Orlando) and select Nemours Children’s Specialty Care satellite locations.

  • Spina Bifida Center of Excellence (SB Center), where we offer care like no other provider in Central Florida
  • large team of pediatric spina bifida experts including surgeons, urologists, radiologists, mental health experts, and physical and occupational therapists working together to coordinate your child’s care — all under one roof
  • advanced radiology (imaging) services including fetal diagnostics
  • onsite orthotics and prosthetics shops
  • support services such as animal-assisted activities, Child Life specialists, expressive arts, social workers
  • Ronald McDonald House on campus, for an affordable home away from home during long hospital stays

We offer spina bifida care at Nemours Children's Health, Jacksonville (working with Wolfson Children’s Hospital) and select satellite locations.

  • access to a team of specialists
  • nurse case manager, who can coordinate office visits, educate your family about spina bifida, and follow up with your child’s school and regular doctor
  • state-of-the-art radiology (imaging) services
  • orthotics and prosthetics shops
  • casting, orthotic and prosthetic shops

We offer spina bifida care at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Pensacola and select satellite locations.

  • wide range of pediatric specialty services
  • radiology (imaging) on-site 
  • orthotic and prosthetic shops

Research & Clinical Trials

At Nemours, we’re actively researching new approaches for childhood disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

KidsHealth Library

Learn more about your child’s medical condition from the experts at Nemours’ KidsHealth.