Spina bifida in children

Spina bifida leaves part of the spinal cord unprotected and causes damage to that portion of the cord and nerves. Our doctors are experts in performing new, less invasive procedures to treat this condition. Together, we can give your son or daughter an active, independent life.

Find a Pediatric Neurosurgeon

Our experienced pediatric doctors and specialists are ready to serve you and your family.

Spina bifida literally means "split spine." The most common form, myelomeningocele, is also the most serious. In this type, part of the spinal cord and nerves are exposed through the back, which causes damage, even partial paralysis.

Treatment Options

If your baby is diagnosed with spina bifida and it creates a protrusion out of the back, it will need to be treated quickly and expertly. Our talented pediatric neurosurgeons and other pediatric specialists are prepared to treat your child's spina bifida with greater success.

Surgery for Myelomeningocele

Babies with myelomeningocele need surgery in the first day or two after birth to protect the exposed area and central nervous system.

Bladder & Bowel Care

Our pediatric urology and nephrology teams provide specialized care for your child’s bladder and bowel needs.


One treatment for hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid around the brain, is through a surgery to place a thin tube within the brain. This tube drains extra fluid down to the belly where the fluid can be absorbed.

Multidisciplinary Clinic

Patients with Spina Bifida often have several body systems affected by the condition, and therefore require a variety of specialists to manage their care.

Here at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, we recognized the strain that caring for this complex condition might place on families and patients and established a Multidisciplinary Spina Bifida Clinic to help make it easier. This Clinic allows providers from multiple specialties to gather in clinic and provide follow-up care for our patients from a team approach. This not only helps alleviate the number of separate trips and follow-up appointments our patients and their families make, but also facilitates in-person provider communication for patient-centered care.

Additionally, our Multidisciplinary Spina Bifida Clinic team meets at the end of each Spina Bifida Clinic for a care conference, in which we discuss each patient and ensure every aspect of their care needs are being met. The specialties we currently have involved in Spina Bifida Clinic are as follows: Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Urology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Nursing, and Pediatric Orthotics Specialists.

Our Nurse Coordinator for Spina Bifida Clinic will ensure each patient sees the necessary providers, as well as coordinates any imaging and/or testing that is needed prior to the follow-up. This includes MRI, X-rays, Ultrasounds, and others.

Our Multidisciplinary Spina Bifida Clinic allows for spina bifida patients and their families to be cared for by our team of doctors and specialists in one setting, focused on creating individualized patient-centered care.