Travel for Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is when a baby’s spine and spinal cord do not develop properly inside the womb that causes a gap in the spine. It is a part of group of birth defects known as neural tube effects. Spina Bifida occurs in many forms of severity. Sometimes children with this kind of birth defect have an opening on the back that needs to be treated surgically.

If you happen to travel for the treatment of Spina Bifida, you would have to carefully plan out your travel expenses and the journey. You have to decide for the treatment center and hotels to stay for the treatment of Spina Bifida. Be sure to take up the appointment in advance for the treatment of Spina Bifida, so that you do not face any trouble.

If you already know where you will be going for the treatment of Spina Bifida, or a consultation or a second opinion then click here to plan your travel. Otherwise, click here to get the information about facilities that specialize in Spina Bifida.

If you cannot afford travel for medical treatment, please consult our directory of charitable organizations that can help arrange no-cost transportation for you.

For more information: (links to the section below)

  • About Spina Bifida
  • Types of Spina Bifida
  • Where to go for Spina Bifida?
  • Treatment of Spina Bifida
  • Risks associated with Spina Bifida
  • Who can go for the treatment?

About Spina bifida

Spina Bifida is a condition where a baby’s backbone is not formed properly since birth. The birth defect affects the spinal column. It is a type of neural tube defect. The neural tube is the body part that branches out in the brain and spinal cord. In the condition of Spina Bifida, the neural tube doesn’t develop or close properly that leads to the defects in spinal cord and the bones of the spine.

In some babies, the defect causes a visible opening in the back. The spinal cord and vertebrae can at times push out through this opening. Other times, there can be no visible opening and the defect stays hidden under the skin.

Spina Bifida occurs in the womb when the tissues that form neural tube do not close completely or do not close at all. The process happens a few days after the conception or in other words, even before a woman knows that she’s pregnant. When the portion of neural tube fails to develop partly or completely, it leads to defects in the spinal cord and the spinal bones.

Types of Spina Bifida

Depending upon the symptoms and the severity of Spina Bifida, there are three types of Spina Bifida that have been listed medically.

  • Spina Bifida Occulta- Occulta means hidden or to hide. In Spina Bifida Occulta, the defect is hidden in the child. It is the mildest and the common type of Spina Bifida. In this condition, one or more vertebrae are not formed appropriately and the gap in the spine is much smaller than other types. Spina Bifida Occulta is rarely associated with any symptoms or signs. It is usually accidentally uncovered when an individual has an X-ray or MRI scan.
  • Meningocele- This is a serious kind of Spina Bifida where the protective membranes of the spinal cord push out through the spine. The membrane around the spinal cord may enlarge and form a visible lump. In these cases, the cyst or the lump is not enclosed to the spinal cord and hence the cord is not exposed. It is a very rare form of Spina Bifida.
  • Myelomeningocele- This type is the most complex and severe kind of Spina Bifida. In this condition, the baby’s spinal cord is open along several vertebrae and exposing it outside of the skin through a cyst. The spinal cord and membranes push out through the opening and form a sac in the baby’s back. The formation of the cyst typically involves neurological problems that can be very serious and fatal at the same time.

Where to go for Spina Bifida?

In USA there are various facilities that can offer treatment for Cerebral Palsy, if you have already determined your child’s symptoms from early stages. As there are more precautions and management rather than the treatment, quite many hospitals cater to the treatment of Cerebral Palsy.

The following health care facilities would help you largely deal with the diagnosis and treatment of the syndrome:

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Babies having Spina Bifida should be regularly seen by the professionals so that they could be checked for progression of disabilities, complications or interventions. There are specialized clinics can assemble a team of professionals, where parents are not spending time travelling for the treatment of their child with Spina Bifida.

If the patient is being given the right treatment and support, it is seen that they thrive well into their adulthood. Children with Spina Bifida have to be given specialized and gentle care. You might have to travel for the treatment of your kid but you got to make sure that the health facility has a team of neurologists, pediatricians, and orthopedics and physiotherapy specialists.

Treatment of Spina Bifida

The treatment for Spina Bifida differs for each individual depending upon their severity. In cases like, Spina Bifida Occulta, where symptoms are not visible, a treatment also might not be required. Although in the cases of other two types of Spina Bifida, a surgical treatment is required to put the exposed sack back in the place along with the vertebrae. In some cases, the removal is also an option.

The surgeon after doing the surgery would have to close the opening over the vertebrae with extreme precision. Also, in some cases, a shunt put in place for avoiding complications for the baby later in life. The surgery can happen just after the birth of the baby or while the baby is in the womb as advised by your doctor.

Sometimes, after the surgery is performed for Spina Bifida, some of the complications or symptoms can remain. They have to be managed depending upon the severity of the symptom. The issues of paralysis and bowl problems can stay throughout the life and they need to be tackled.

The treatment for issues that emerge after surgeries can be additional surgeries, medications, physiotherapy, rehab services and walking aids.

Risks associated with Spina Bifida

Even though there have been no known causes as to why Spina Bifida occurs, there are some of the risk factors that have been outlined. Parents, who have had one child with neural tube effect, comprise of a slightly higher risk of having another baby with the same effect. Family history can help a lot to decipher if the child will get Spina Bifida or not.

Although, many children born with the defect have do not have any known family history of Spina Bifida. Folate, a vital vitamin for the growth of a baby, if is deficient, then the baby has a higher risk of Spina Bifida.

Who can go for the treatment?

In USA, every year 1,500 babies are born with the condition of Spina Bifida. In 1992, United States Public Health Service recommended the women to have an intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid during pregnancy to reduce the risk of Neural Tube Defects. About one out o0f every 2500 babies born in USA would be affected by the neural tube defects. Females are more affected as compared to males. As soon as the baby is diagnosed with Spina Bifida, they should be going in for the treatment.

In severe form of Spina Bifida, the symptoms can be seen on the skin of the back of a baby’s body. Other visible symptoms comprise of an abnormal tuft of hair, a birthmark or jutting spinal cord tissue. Many parents make sure to get their baby tested even before they are born looking out for symptoms of Spina Bifida.

Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, ultrasound of the baby in the womb are helpful in such cases.

Some of the babies suffering from Spina Bifida might have no visible symptoms and for others who have the severe form of Spina Bifida, complications like partial paralysis and urinary and bowel dysfunction can be a symptom of the ailment. The symptoms are different for each type of Spina Bifida.