Spina bifida is a rare birth defect where the spinal cord does not develop properly. The condition is a type of neural tube defect that can occur anywhere along the spine within the first 28 days of pregnancy.

Depending on size, location and type, Spina bifida can range from mild to severe. The cause is uncertain but some risk factors include folic acid deficiency, family history, diabetes, obesity and certain medications.

Treatments and solutions often require coordinated and lifelong care from multiple providers and specialties. Our goal is to work with you on a customized care plan that is convenient and focused on your child’s quality of life.

Diagram of the Spina Bifida condition

Types of spina bifida

Spina bifida occulta

This is the most common form of spina bifida. It is considered a mild form and is often unnoticed until it appears in an imaging scan. It rarely presents any symptoms or disabilities.

Spina bifida myelomeningocele

Of all types of spina bifida, this is the most severe form. Children with this form can be prone to neurological conditions, infections, paralysis and bowel issues.

Spina bifida meningocele

Although least common, this type is a moderate form of spina bifida that protrudes above the skin and forms a fluid-filled sac. Surgery is usually required.


Spina Bifida Treatment Options

Spina bifida conditions can range from mild to severe. Treatments will vary for each patient but can range from surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy and orthotics.

Each personalized treatment plan uses evidence-backed solutions and includes a multidisciplinary team of specialists who are focused on the long-term care of your child. Our goal is to ensure your child has the necessary resources to live an independent and fulfilling life.

Kristin Day, FNP-C, our patient care coordinator, is here to help answer any questions you may have. She can be reached directly at (832)325-7376 or Kristin.M.Day@uth.tmc.edu.


Your dedicated care team

It can be confusing or frustrating when coordinating care between multiple health care providers on multiple visits. Our team is committed to offering you a more coordinated and efficient approach.

Our office works around your availability and schedules the specialists who are involved in your child’s health care journey. We also will help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Your child’s treatment plan may involve pediatric orthopedists, physical therapists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, urologists and pediatricians with expertise in spina bifida care. We want to make sure your child gets the right care at the right time.

Meet the team


The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital

Our pediatric sub-specialists evaluate and treat patients at The Fetal Center, an international leader in fetal diagnosis, fetal intervention and comprehensive fetal care for infants with congenital anomalies or genetic abnormalities. The location also provides myelomeningocele closure for patients who meet specific criteria for in utero closure.

Following treatment and for future appointments, the UT Physicians Spina Bifida team will provide a medical home to ensure their advanced care needs are met.