After birth, surgery to repair the defect is usually recommended at an early age. Before surgery, the infant must be handled carefully to reduce damage to the exposed spinal cord. This may include special care and positioning, protective devices, and changes in the methods of handling, feeding, and bathing.
Antibiotics may be used to treat or prevent infections such as meningitis or urinary tract infections.
Gentle downward pressure over the bladder may help drain the bladder. In severe cases, drainage tubes, called catheters, may be needed. Bowel training programs and a high fiber diet may improve bowel function.
Orthopedic or physical therapy may be needed to treat musculoskeletal symptoms. Neurological losses are treated according to the type and severity of function loss.
Follow-up neurologic testing as the child gets older helps to guide rehabilitation.
Frequent doctor’s visits will be needed early on if your baby has severe spina bifida. Doctors use these visits to make sure that treatments are working and to determine whether the child needs more surgery.
A baby with severe spina bifida may need ongoing physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles by exercising the arms and legs. You will be able to help your baby do many of these exercises at home.
Living your Life with Spina Bifida
Spina Bifida is not one condition; it is a multitude of problems that affect the mind, the body, and the spirit. No two cases of Spina Bifida are ever the same. SBA offers support and essential information to those 70,000 Americans who live with Spina Bifida and their families.
Some of the challenges that potentially face those with Spina Bifida are:
- Latex Allergy
- Hydrocephalus and Shunts in the Person with Spina Bifida (DOC)
- Depression and Anxiety in Individuals with Spina Bifida (DOC)
- Urologic Care and Management