Treatment Strategies

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Most cases of spina bifida can be diagnosed before birth with the help of prenatal tests such as ultrasounds, amniocentesis, and the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test. Postnatal diagnostic tests include x-rays, CT scans of the skull, and MRI and ultrasonography of the spinal area.

Treatment for spina bifida depends on a child’s clinical symptoms but most often includes physical therapy, antibiotics to prevent infection, and teaching the child bowel and bladder habits. Surgery is usually recommended at an early age and includes options such as spina bifida repair and ventriculoperitoneal shunting.