Spina bifida is a neural tube birth defect that affects the brain and spinal cord. The most severe form, myelomeningocele, can have lasting and serious complications without specialized care. The Fetal & Newborn Care Program at the Columbia Center for Prenatal Pediatrics offers life-changing treatments for babies with myelomeningocele, including prenatal procedures that have been shown to dramatically improve outcomes and quality of life.
To make an appointment with the Fetal & Newborn Care team, please call 877-THE-BABY (877-843-2229) or use our appointment request form.
Spina bifida is a neural tube birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form correctly as the fetus develops. In the most severe form of spina bifida—called myelomeningocele—a sac containing spinal fluid and part of the spinal cord and nerves protrudes from the spine.
Myelomeningocele causes moderate to severe disabilities, depending on where the sac is located along the spine and what nerves are involved. Long-term complications include fluid retention in the brain (hydrocephalus), paraplegia, postural disability, bowel and bladder problems, breathing and swallowing issues and curved spine (scoliosis).
Treating myelomeningocele surgically while the baby is still developing in the womb may improve motor function and has been shown to significantly decrease the need for potentially dangerous treatments like cerebrospinal fluid shunting.
The Fetal & Newborn Care Program at the Columbia Center for Prenatal Pediatrics is the only program in New York that offers fetal intervention to repair myelomeningocele. Our expert surgeons offer the latest minimally invasive options for prenatal treatment and can help determine the best option for you and your baby.
Our program offers specialized care and expertise in the management of spina bifida and myelomeningocele, focusing on improving the quality of life for patients. Services include prenatal counseling and diagnosis, fetal surgery consultations, postnatal care, and long-term follow-up for children and adults. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals, including pediatric specialists, neurosurgeons, obstetrician-gynecologists, collaborate to provide personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient's unique needs.
With our comprehensive approach and commitment to innovation, the Fetal & Newborn Care Program at the Columbia Center for Prenatal Pediatrics is dedicated to providing exceptional care and achieving the best outcomes for you and your baby.
A Multidisciplinary Team Approach to Care
Our fetal therapy team includes experts from across Columbia, with specialists in pediatric surgery, maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric neurosurgery, and obstetrical anesthesia.
Personalized Care for You and Your Baby
Every child with spina bifida is different. So we meet regularly with patients and their families to help them better understand their specific diagnosis. We will partner with you to determine the best course of action for your baby.
Leaders in Minimally Invasive Fetal Surgery
Columbia continues to be a leader in minimally invasive surgical techniques and innovation. Our approach considers all factors and is designed to provide the best fetal outcomes while minimizing risk to both you and your baby.
The Best Care for Critically Ill Babies in NYC
You can count on the best possible care for your child here at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Our neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) have the highest ratings available and are among the most highly regarded units in the country.
Long-term Support from Specialists
Babies with spina bifida can now live longer and with better quality of life, but many will still face lifelong health issues. Our experts here at Columbia can coordinate ongoing care to ensure that no matter what challenges they face, your child will get the support they need.
Treatment Driven by the Latest Research
Until recently, spina bifida was only treated with postnatal (after birth) surgery to repair the defect and close the spine. In 2011, the Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) demonstrated that fetal surgery for spina bifida improves fetal outcomes, greatly reduces the need to divert fluid from the brain using a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt, and may improve the chances that a child will be able to walk independently.
The Fetal & Newborn Care Program at the Columbia Center for Prenatal Pediatrics comprises a multidisciplinary team of experts, including specialists in pediatric surgery, neurological surgery, maternal fetal medicine, and anesthesiology.
Our pediatric surgeons play a critical role in the treatment of spina bifida and myelomeningocele by performing surgical interventions to address the spinal defects and associated complications. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team, collaborating with other specialists and providing long-term follow-up care.
Vincent Duron, MD | Pediatric Surgeon
Our pediatric spine neurosurgeons are highly specialized in the treatment of neurological conditions affecting the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. Their expertise along with the comprehensive team will determine the best approach to treatment.
Neil A. Feldstein, MD | Neurosurgeon
Maternal & Fetal Medicine
Our maternal and fetal medicine doctors provide comprehensive prenatal care and specialized interventions. They work closely with expectant mothers who have been diagnosed with these conditions during pregnancy. They offer counseling, support, and guidance, ensuring that the parents understand the condition and the available treatment options.
Russell S. Miller, MD | Maternal & Fetal Medicine Specialist
Lynn L. Simpson, MD | Maternal & Fetal Medicine Specialist
Our anesthesiologists play a crucial role in the treatment of spina bifida and myelomeningocele by providing anesthesia and pain management during surgical procedures. When surgical intervention is necessary, anesthesiologists work closely with the surgical team to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient.
Laurence Ring, MD | Anesthesiologist
Our patient coordinators serve as a liaison between the patient, their family, and the healthcare team. They help facilitate communication between the various healthcare providers involved in the care of the patient, such as pediatric surgeons, neurosurgeons, maternal and fetal medicine doctors, anesthesiologists, and other specialists. They assist in scheduling appointments, coordinating tests and procedures, and ensuring that all necessary information is shared among the healthcare team members.
Rosalie Ingrassia | Coordinator
We are located at Columbia/NewYork-Presbyterian’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, the number one children’s hospital in New York.
NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York
3959 Broadway (166th Street and Broadway)
New York, NY 10032
To make an appointment with the Fetal & Newborn Care team, call 877-THE-BABY (877-843-2229) or request an appointment online.