Treatment for spina bifida depends on the severity of the condition. Spina bifida occulta does not require any treatment. More severe forms of spina bifida require surgery to put the meninges (layers over the spinal cord) back in place and close the defect in the spinal column. Many infants with spinal bifida develop hydrocephalus, requiring the placement of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt to relieve the pressure inside the brain.
Specific treatment for spina bifida may include:
- Surgery for spina bifida:
- To repair the malformation of the spinal cord and spinal canal
- Delaying surgery increases the risk for meningitis, a common complication of severe spina bifida.
- Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt for hydrocephalus:
- A VP shunt is a tube that drains extra fluid from around the brain, into the abdominal cavity.
- The tube runs from the head to the abdomen, under the skin.
- Physical therapy for spina bifida
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- Mitchell LE, Adzick NS, Melchionne J, Pasquariello PS, Sutton LN, Whitehead AS. Spina bifida. Lancet. 2004 Nov 20-26;364(9448):1885-95. 
- Rendeli C, Ausili E, Tabacco F, Caliandro P, Aprile I, Tonali P, Salvaggio E, Padua L. Assessment of health status in children with spina bifida. Spinal Cord. 2005 Apr;43(4):230-5.