Types of spina bifida
There are several different types of spina bifida, including:
- myelomeningocele – the most severe type of spina bifida; the baby’s spinal canal remains open along several vertebrae in the back, allowing the spinal cord and protective membranes around it to push out and form a sac in the baby’s back
- meningocele – another serious type of spina bifida where the protective membranes around the spinal cord (meninges) push out through the spine; the spinal cord usually develops normally so surgery can often be used to remove the membranes without damaging the nerves
- spina bifida occulta – the most common and mildest type of spina bifida; 1 or more vertebrae does not form properly, but the gap in the spine is very small; spina bifida occulta does not usually cause any problems and most people are unaware they have it
These pages focus on myelomeningocele, the most severe type of spina bifida, and this is the type usually referred to whenever the term spina bifida is used.
Shine is a charity that provides help and support for people affected by spina bifida.
Their website has more information about the other types of spina bifida.