Spina bifida develops before birth, but its impact is lifelong. TIRR Memorial Hermann brings together leading clinicians and scientists, and advanced medical research and technology, to deliver the most advanced care and treatments available for spina bifida. Our goal? To help individuals living with spina bifida, from infancy through adulthood, live as productively and independently as possible, and with the greatest quality of life.

According to the March of Dimes, it is the most common neural tube defect (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord) in the United States, affecting about 1,500 babies born in the U.S. each year. Infants born with spina bifida may suffer loss of sensation or paralysis, difficulty walking and other problems that can lead to lifelong disability.

What Rehabilitation Therapies Are Available for Spina Bifida?

Some children may require intensive therapies and medical treatment throughout their lives due to the range of complications associated with the defect, including hydrocephalus (an accumulation of fluid in the brain), neuromuscular issues, lack of bladder and bowel control, depression, weight issues, mobility issues and learning disabilities.

TIRR Memorial Hermann provides patients of all ages with spina bifida with comprehensive, multidisciplinary rehabilitation services, including:

  • Physical therapy (PT) programs improve gross motor skills and may include training with specialized orthotics
  • Occupational therapy (OT) to improve fine motor skills for use in conducting activities of daily living
  • Speech therapy for patients with speech and swallowing difficulties
  • Recreational therapy to promote socialization, physical fitness, weight control and independence

What Are the Benefits of Rehabilitation for Spina Bifida?

  • Physical therapy helps improve a child’s strength, coordination, balance and mobility.
  • Occupational therapy helps improve the child’s ability to perform everyday activities.
  • Speech therapy helps to increase a child’s oral motor skills and communication abilities through exercises that train the brain to pronounce, understand and interpret individual words, sounds, numbers and gestures.

Meet the Spina Bifida Team

The affiliated spina bifida specialists at The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital provide prenatal monitoring and in utero care for high-risk moms as well as pediatric care for newborns and children with spina bifida.

TIRR Memorial Hermann’s team of affiliated spinal cord injury (SCI) specialists treats adult patients with spina bifida.

Patient Stories

  • Kelly Williams

    Kelly Williams Is Getting Another Wonderful Birthday Present This Year

    October 16, 2014

    Kelly and her husband, Chad, count themselves very lucky. The diagnosis of an open neural tube defect, or myelomeningocele, led them on a journey of education, referral, consultations and, ultimately, to open fetal surgery for spina bifida repair. Spina bifida – a major birth defect involving the...

    Read More

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Nationally Ranked Rehabilitation

For the 34th consecutive year, TIRR Memorial Hermann is recognized as the best rehabilitation hospital in Texas and No. 4 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report's "Best Rehabilitation Hospitals" in America.

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