Is there any treatment for Spina Bifida


In the USA, a long-term study began in early 2003 called the Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) and looked at the benefits, if any, of prenatal surgery for babies diagnosed with Spina Bifida.  The trial has now been completed.



158 children with Spina Bifida were evaluated at 12 months and 30 months of age.  There was a reduction in the numbers of babies requiring insertion of a shunt (40% prenatal surgery/82% postnatal surgery).
Prenatal surgery also resulted in an improvement in mental development and motor function.  Prenatal surgery carries significant risk to both mother and baby (intrauterine death, uterine damage and premature birth).
At present, this treatment is not offered in NZ so there is no treatment that we can offer during the pregnancy.  However, prenatal surgery is available in the USA for international patients wishing to pursue this option.
Please discuss this option with your Maternal Fetal Medicine consultant.  Your full medical records as well as ultrasound scans of your baby will have to be reviewed in the USA.  Prenatal surgery is carried out prior to 26 weeks gestation.