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What is the survival rate for a child born with spina bifida?

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Quick Answer

Approximately 90 percent of children born with spina bifida live into adulthood and are in school with children their own age, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The overall mortality rate of children with meningocele is estimated to be 10 to 15 percent before the age of 4.

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What is the survival rate for a child born with spina bifida?
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Full Answer

Spina bifida occurs in one out of every 1,500 to 2,000 live births, reports the Minnesota Department of Health. Up to 80 percent of children with spina bifida are of normal intelligence, and 75 percent take part in recreational or sports-related activities.

Treatment for spina bifida varies widely, as different types of the condition vary in severity, notes Mayo Clinic. Spina bifida occulta often requires no treatment, while meningocele requires surgery. During surgery for spina bifida, a surgeon puts the spinal cord and any exposed tissues into the baby's body and covers them with muscle and skin tissue.

Prenatal surgery is also an option for some types of spina bifida, although it does pose a risk of premature labor and risk to both mother and baby, advises Mayo Clinic. Prenatal surgery is done before the 26th week of pregnancy by surgically opening the uterus and performing spinal repair on the baby. Children who have prenatal surgery to repair the spine have less need of walking aids and shunts. Ongoing care is still needed in severe cases of spina bifida. Bladder, bowel and leg muscle function are common issues.

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