Spina bifida care at Mayo Clinic

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 the age and individual needs of your child, 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, fetal and maternal medicine, pediatric surgery, and others.

Mayo Clinic has significant expertise and experience in caring for children and adults who have spina bifida, treating around 300 people every year.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment: Spina bifida surgery before birth

When a spina bifida diagnosis is made before birth, pregnant people need comprehensive evaluations to determine treatment options. Mayo Clinic experts may offer in utero spina bifida surgery. This complex procedure involves a team from several Mayo Clinic specialties, including pediatric neurosurgeons, specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, and maternal and fetal medicine specialists.

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

Through new innovations, Mayo Clinic surgeons are repairing spina bifida prior to birth with the use of a fetoscope. This vastly improves the life of the baby and enables the pregnant parent to deliver vaginally and closer to term.

Surgery prior to birth can often be offered for serious congenital anomalies such as spina bifida. Congenital anomalies are typically diagnosed around 20 weeks during the recommended fetal anatomy scan. Once the condition is diagnosed, a multidisciplinary center can offer the best treatment options, with various specialists coming together using the latest technology and techniques. Early intervention is extremely important. Involving a specialized team sooner helps teams plan and prepare for treatment options.

Mayo Clinic specializes in minimally invasive approaches that improve overall outcomes. Using a multidisciplinary approach, experts for both the pregnant parent and the child come together. These include experts in maternal and fetal medicine, obstetricians, cardiologists, neurologists, and others.

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 these children reach adulthood, they can transition to a Mayo healthcare team for adults with spina bifida.

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

Expertise and rankings

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

Nationally recognized expertise

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery and rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Minnesota, and the five-state region of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2023-2024 "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, are ranked among the Best Hospitals for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report.

Mayo Clinic in Minnesota ranks among the best hospitals for urology in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings.

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 and maternal care in Minnesota

Mayo Clinic offers a coordinated, multispecialty team approach to help people experiencing high-risk pregnancies. Mayo Clinic experts specializing in fetal and maternal care use imaging techniques before delivery to accurately diagnose babies with conditions present at birth, such as spina bifida. They also 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 have support spaces throughout the unit, such as family waiting areas and rooms, parent sleep rooms, and breastfeeding rooms.

Mayo's NICU Follow-Up Clinic ensures continuity of quality care after the baby leaves 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.