Most people with spina bifida are able to have surgery to close the opening in the spine.
But the nervous system will usually already have been damaged, which can lead to problems such as:
- weakness or total paralysis of the legs
- bowel incontinence and urinary incontinence
- loss of skin sensation in the legs and around the bottom – the child is unable to feel hot or cold, which can lead to accidental injury
Many babies will have or develop hydrocephalus (a build-up of fluid on the brain), which can further damage the brain.
Most people with spina bifida have normal intelligence, but some have learning difficulties.
Read more about the symptoms of spina bifida.