Mayo Clinic's approach


A team of doctors in maternal and fetal medicine, pediatric neurosurgery, and other areas evaluates you and your unborn baby with spina bifida to determine whether surgery is an option.

Your doctor will carefully and individually explain the potential risks of the procedure to you and your unborn baby. These risks include rupture of your uterus after surgery (uterine rupture), fetal death, operative complications, early labor and potential failure to treat the spina bifida. Your doctor will also inform you about the possible benefits of the procedure and the long-term follow-up care your child will need.


At Mayo Clinic, our team of doctors, including those trained in treating pregnant women with complex problems (maternal-fetal medicine specialists), treating children with brain and nervous system conditions (pediatric neurosurgeons), and other specialists, have extensive experience performing fetal surgery.

Continuity of care

An integrated team of Mayo doctors trained in treating spina bifida cares for your child after his or her birth and helps manage his or her condition.


Mayo Clinic doctors actively study how to lower the risks of fetal surgery and improve outcomes. Doctors in pediatric neurology study potential treatments for spina bifida and other neurological conditions.

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota is one of few medical centers in the United States where doctors perform open fetal surgery.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks No. 1 for neurology and neurosurgery in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery.

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.

Clinical trials

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.

April 17, 2019
  1. McLone DG, et al. Overview of the management of myelomeningocele (spina bifida). Accessed Dec. 9, 2015.
  2. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion No, 550, Maternal-fetal surgery. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2013;121:218.
  3. Adzick NS. Fetal surgery for spina bifida: Past, present and future. Seminars in Pediatric Surgery. 2013;22:10.