Spina Bifida

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Connect with the Norton Children’s
Neurosurgery Team

(502) 583-1697

The Norton Children’s board-certified neurosurgical team is led by Thomas M. Moriarty, M.D., Ph.D., a recognized leader in the field with extensive experience and specialized training. Our physicians have the sophisticated tools and skills to give you and your child a precise diagnosis and treatment plan for spina bifida that minimizes risk.

What Is Spina Bifida?

Nearly 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida each year. Spina bifida happens when the brain, spinal cord or the membranes that cover them (called meninges) don’t fully develop the way they should. There are several types, ranging from mild with no symptom to severe and potentially debilitating.

Spina Bifida Treatment Options

Treatment will vary depending on your child’s symptoms. Among the options are:

  • Bracing or orthopedic surgery
  • Spine surgery for scoliosis
  • Bladder surgery
  • Bowel surgery
  • Surgery for a tethered spinal cord
  • A surgical procedure that helps with hydrocephalus (ETV/CPC procedure)

Coordinated Care for Children With Spina Bifida

Families dealing with more severe forms of spina bifida often find themselves making appointments with a pediatrician, urologist, gynecologist, orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon and spine surgeon all in the same week. It can be stressful.

One of the things that sets Norton Children’s Hospital apart is our Spina Bifida Clinic, held on the third Wednesday of every month. The clinic allows parents and children with the condition to see all of their doctors in a single day, and it allows the physicians to better coordinate care.

Why Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute?

  • The Norton Children’s Hospital Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is a Level 4 epilepsy center, the highest rating available from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. Norton Children’s Hospital has held this designation since 2013.
  • We are the first in Kentucky and among the first in the nation to use neurostimulation in a pediatric patient.
  • Regional neurology care is available for children across Kentucky and Southern Indiana. We travel to clinics in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Corbin, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Owensboro and Paducah, Kentucky; and Evansville, Indiana. We also perform a number of telemedicine visits each week.
  • The specialists with Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, use state-of-the-art technology to treat epilepsy, uncontrollable seizures and deep brain tumors in children who, in the past, would not be candidates for surgery, including:
    • Visualase: Technology that allows neurosurgeons to perform MRI-guided laser ablation surgery. Fewer than two dozen pediatric hospitals in the U.S. offer this technology.
    • Surgical Theater: Virtual reality technology that creates an immersive 3D view of a patient’s brain, allowing neurosurgeons, the patient and family to see inside the skull and brain to get a greater understanding of the condition and impact of potential procedures. Norton Children’s Hospital is the first hospital in the region to use this technology.
  • We offer dedicated multidisciplinary clinics for brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries, spina bifida, craniofacial injuries and disorders, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, spasticity, headache/migraine, autism and neurocutaneous disorders.
  • Our multidisciplinary craniofacial program was the first established in the Midwest.
  • We offer a neurogenetics clinic to evaluate and treat children with neurogenetic syndromes.
  • We have a neuropsychology program that specializes in the evaluation of children and teens with a variety of neurological, neurodevelopmental and medical conditions, including brain tumors and epilepsy.
  • Outpatient neurology facilities in downtown Louisville are equipped with in-office electroencephalography (EEG) capabilities and laboratory services in the same building, creating a streamlined, family-centered environment.
  • We offer the region’s first clinic to treat children with immune-mediated neurological disorders.

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