Spina bifida care at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic's pediatric experts provide the highest quality care for children with spina bifida and any complications.

Mayo Clinic has significant expertise and experience in caring for children and adults who have spina bifida, treating more than 370 people annually.

Spina bifida surgery before birth

When a spina bifida diagnosis is made before birth, after a comprehensive evaluation, Mayo Clinic experts may offer in utero spina bifida surgery to a pregnant woman. This complex procedure involves a team from several Mayo Clinic specialties, including pediatric neurosurgeons, specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, and specialists from the Fetal Care Center.

Using ultrasound as a guide, surgeons expose the pregnant mother's uterus surgically, open the uterus, repair the baby's spinal cord and close the mother's incision. When done by the experienced specialists at Mayo Clinic, prenatal surgery typically results in significantly less disability for the child with spina bifida.

In Utero Spina Bifida Surgery

Your Mayo Clinic care team

At Mayo Clinic, you can expect the best care from our multispecialty team of pediatric experts on spina bifida. Depending on age and individual needs, the team of experts may include pediatric or adult specialists in neurosurgery, neurology, urology, orthopedic surgery, radiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatric rehabilitation, clinical genomics and others.

To aid in treatment planning and decisions, a model of the patient's spine can be generated by computer medical imaging and then printed out on a 3D printer.

Spina Bifida Clinic

At Mayo's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, the Spina Bifida Clinic coordinates care for children and teenagers with complex conditions of the spine, spinal cord, brain, bowel and bladder. When they reach adulthood, they can transition to a Mayo health care team for adults with spina bifida.

You and your child will likely see many experts over the course of the first visit. This multispecialty team approach results in a personalized treatment plan and patient-centered care. This plan may include surgery, medication, therapy, special equipment and follow-up appointments with specialists.

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic is consistently recognized by external organizations for providing outstanding patient care. These endorsements reinforce our commitment to provide expert, compassionate care to both children and adults.

Nationally recognized expertise

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery, for urology, for orthopedics, and for rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report.

Pediatric experts

Mayo Clinic's pediatric experts provide the highest quality care for children with spina bifida and any complications. This experienced multispecialty team includes specialists from pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric neurology, pediatric urology, pediatric orthopedic surgery, pediatric rehabilitation and other areas.

Children who need hospital care receive treatment at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital, consistently recognized as one of the best children's hospitals in the nation.

Fetal Care Center

The Mayo Clinic Fetal Care Center uses a coordinated, multispecialty team approach to help women experiencing high-risk pregnancies. Fetal Care Center staff use imaging techniques to accurately diagnose babies with birth defects, such as spina bifida, prenatally and then connect parents with the necessary specialists.

This team of physicians and nurses helps coordinate any necessary intrauterine treatment, plans the route and timing of delivery, and provides a smooth care transition for the newborn infant.

NICU and NICU Follow-up Clinic

Mayo Clinic's Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) specializes in family-centered care of premature and critically ill newborn infants. Families are welcome at the baby's bedside and will find many support spaces throughout the unit, such as family waiting areas and rooms, parent-sleep rooms and breast-feeding rooms.

Mayo's NICU Follow-up Clinic ensures continuity of quality care after the baby's discharge from the NICU.

Continuity of care

Mayo Clinic provides lifelong care for spina bifida, so your child can transition to adult care for follow-up to ensure continued quality care.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

More information about billing and insurance:

Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota

Mayo Clinic Health System

March 09, 2018


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