What Is the Life Expectancy for Spinal Bifida?

Approximately 90 percent of babies born with spina bifida live to adulthood, according to the Spina Bifida Association. Early detection makes the condition manageable, and 80 percent of children develop normal intelligence, while 75 percent are physically active in sports and other recreation.

Spina bifida occulta is the mildest form and often goes unnoticed because children rarely experience any symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. Meningocele, the second mildest form, is rare, and doctors typically perform surgery during pregnancy or within two days of delivery to reduce developmental symptoms in the future. Myelomeningocele, the most severe form, also requires prenatal or immediate postnatal surgery to correct the most harmful defects and protect the spinal cord and exposed nerves from infection. Children with myelomeningocele usually need ongoing therapy and surgery to manage nerve damage and monitor physical and mental development.