Spina Bifida

Physiatry at Washington Township Medical Foundation

Spina bifida is a birth defect in which the spine does not fully close as the baby develops. As a developmental birth defect, there are different types of this condition as well as degrees of severity.

Types of spina bifida include:

  • Myelomeningocele (MM)
  • Meningocele
  • Anencephaly
  • Spina bifida occulta

In most cases, the term “spina bifida” in fact refers to the MM type of this condition, in which the neural tube does not close normally during prenatal development—a development that typically occurs within 28 days of conception. In an infant with MM, the spinal cord and the membrane covering it protrude and the doctor must surgically close this opening. This procedure usually takes place within a few days of birth.

Rehabilitation for Spina Bifida

A physiatrist will develop a post-surgery rehabilitation plan for patients with spina bifida based on factors unique to the patient’s diagnosis such as the site of the neural tube opening, the severity of the condition, the patient’s age, and degree of mental damage that is present. Aspects of spina bifida rehabilitation may include bladder / bowel control, developmental growth, mobility, and functional rehabilitation. Ask your Fremont physiatrist at WTMF any questions you may have regarding rehabilitation for patients with spina bifida.