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Orthopaedic Surgery

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Spina Bifida

When the bones of the spinal column do not develop properly before birth, a condition called spina bifida occurs. In spina bifida, the spinal cord is left partly unprotected by the vertebrae. This condition may be mild or severe. Babies born with spina bifida may need surgery several times during their lives.

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Spina Bifida: What You Need to Know

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  • Spina bifida is very common. On average, about eight babies a day are born with spina bifida in the United States.
  • No one knows exactly what causes spina bifida. Doctors do know that taking folic acid before and during pregnancy can reduce the risk of having a baby with spina bifida.
  • Babies born with mild cases of spina bifida usually grow up to lead full, active lives.
  • Severe cases of spina bifida can cause paralysis of the lower limbs.
  • Children with spina bifida are more prone to have other conditions, such as clubfoot, latex allergy and learning disabilities.

Patient Resources

Why Choose Johns Hopkins for treatment of spina bifida?

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Our Physicians

Our experienced doctors offer compassionate care to babies with spina bifida.

Meet our physicians:

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Our Staff

Our physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) specialize in pediatric orthopaedics and play a key role in providing care to our patients and families.

Meet our staff that cares for children with spina bifida:

Kristen Venuti, C.R.N.P.


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