What is Spina Bifida?
- Spina bifida is a condition where the spine does not develop properly, leaving a gap in the spine.
- In many cases surgery can be carried out to close the opening in the spine. However, damage to the nervous system will usually already have taken place.
- The damage to the spinal cord can lead to problems such as:
- Many babies will have or will develop hydrocephalus (excess fluid on the brain), which can further damage the brain. Most people with spina bifida will have a normal intelligence, but learning difficulties are common, especially with hydrocephalus.
How to Manage Spina Bifida
- A number of different treatments can be used to treat symptoms or conditions associated with spina bifida.
- These include:
- surgery soon after birth to close the opening in the spine and treat hydrocephalus
- therapies to help make day-to-day life easier and improve independence, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy
- assistive devices and mobility aids, such as a manual or electric wheelchair, or walking aids
- treatments for bowel and urinary problems, such as medication, draining urine from the bladder with a tube (catheter), anal irrigation systems and surgery
- With appropriate treatment and support, it's likely that children with spina bifida will survive well into adulthood.
All information from NHS Choices