Myelomeningocele, or Spina Bifida, occurs in approximately one in every thousand live births. The condition typically arises when there is a defect in the base of the spinal cord such that the neural elements protrude through an opening in the skin. Often, there is disruption of signal flow between the brain and nerves below the level of the spinal cord defect, resulting in difficulties with walking and standing and causing bowel and bladder problems. In addition, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord is often affected, resulting in hydrocephalus that requires a shunt operation.
The Myelomeningocele Clinic at the University of Michigan combines the expertise of the Departments of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, Orthopaedics, Urology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and other specialties to address the multiple medical needs of patients with these congenital spinal cord abnormalities. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that optimal and individualized care is provided to each patient in a regular and timely fashion.