Neurogenic bladder and spina bifida

The Norton Children’s Urology staff physicians are fellowship trained in pediatric and adolescent urology and genitourinary malformation, providing spina bifida and neurogenic bladder care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

We have state-of-the-art equipment that is unavailable elsewhere in Louisville or Southern Indiana. Our specialists bring skill, respect and sensitivity to caring for your child’s urological needs.

Spina bifida is a birth defect that prevents the spinal column from closing properly. In its most severe form, part of the spine, nerves and tissues develop in a sac outside the spinal column.

How spina bifida affects the bladder

Children born with spina bifida typically have a neurogenic bladder. This means the bladder will have trouble storing urine, properly emptying, or both. This is because nerves in the spinal cord that control the bladder didn’t form properly.

Most infants with spina bifida are born with functioning kidneys, but they can be damaged if the bladder doesn’t empty well and infections develop. Only a small percentage of kids with spina bifida are able to empty their bladders without the help of a catheter.

Many advances have been made in managing neurogenic bladder so that severe kidney damage is uncommon in patients with spina bifida.

Kids born with spina bifida may experience frequent constipation because the nerves that regulate the bowel often don’t form properly. This typically doesn’t become an issue until your child begins solid foods.

Multidisciplinary spina bifida care

Kids with spina bifida will sometimes need to see a pediatrician, urologist, gynecologist, orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon and spine surgeon. A collaborative team of providers will be involved in your child’s care.

Norton Children’s offers a special Spina Bifida Clinic on the third Wednesday of every month, allowing spina bifida patients to see their doctors in a single day.

The Norton Children’s Hospital Spina Bifida Clinic offers immediate and long-term care for children. For more information, call (502) 559-7225.

Our team of specialists will work with you to help minimize bladder and kidney problems in your child.

We will monitor your child’s urinary tract system as part of his or her ongoing care. This may include any of the following tests:

  • Urinalysis and urine culture
  • Bladder ultrasound
  • Blood tests to assess kidney function

Treatment for a poorly functioning bladder may include catheterization and medication. In some cases, your provider may recommend bladder surgery may be necessary

Urology – 1670

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Want to schedule an appointment with Norton Children’s Urology?

(502) 559-1670


Information on conditions unique to girls and young women can be found at
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