Spina Bifida

Treatment for myelomeningocele spina bifida is very complicated and may include:
Extensive surgery is done on the baby 24-48 hours after birth. During surgery, the nerves, membrane, and spinal cord are put back into the spine. They are then covered with skin. Prompt surgery can prevent further nerve damage. It cannot reverse damage that has already occurred. More serious forms of spina bifida may require more surgeries. They are done throughout childhood.
Therapists teach parents how to exercise the infant's legs and feet. Walkers, braces, and crutches will often be needed for mobility.
Complications of spina bifida can be ongoing and extensive. It will be important for you to work with a team of doctors. They should be able to provide the best care and support for you and your child. Team members may include:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Orthopedic surgeons
  • Urologists
  • Rehabilitation experts
  • Physical therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers

To help reduce the chance that your baby will be born with spina bifida:

  • Supplement your diet with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day if you plan to conceive. Supplementation must begin before the baby is conceived and should continue throughout the pregnancy. While a formal vitamin supplement containing folate may be the most reliable method of supplementation, foods with significant quantities of folate include:
    • Leafy green vegetables
    • Orange juice
    • Beans
    • White flour products and cereals fortified with folate
  • Plan your pregnancies. Talk to your doctor if you have any of the risk factors listed above.




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