Spina Bifida 

Spina bifida is a congenital malformation of the spinal cord and column that, until recently, was known chiefly as a pediatric disability. Due to advancements in medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care, the number of adults living with spina bifida is increasing.

The UPMC Spina Bifida Adult Clinic provides coordinated care that often begins by working with pediatric specialists to ensure a smooth transition to adult medicine. And, it's the only program in western Pennsylvania specializing in the unique medical needs of adults with spina bifida.

Health Problems Associated With Spina Bifida

People with spina bifida typically have increased pressure in the brain (hydrocephalus), which is treated by surgical shunting (draining).

Many health issues can accompany spina bifida, such as:

  • Paralysis of the lower limbs
  • Bowel, bladder, and kidney problems
  • Skin breakdown
  • Learning difficulties
  • Depression

Adults with spina bifida face additional unique challenges related to health and mobility, including:

  • Shoulder and back pain
  • Progressing scoliosis
  • Lymphedema
  • Shunt failure

Treatment at the Spina Bifida Adult Clinic

The UPMC Spina Bifida Adult Clinic offers on-site:

  • Kidney screenings
  • MRI and CT scans
  • Ultrasounds
  • X-rays

Our treatment team includes:

  • Doctor who coordinate care with your primary care physician
  • Nurses who specialize in spinal cord conditions
  • Dieticians and orthotists, as needed

Other specialists at the Spina Bifida Adult Clinic, include:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Urologists
  • Orthopaedic surgeons

Mobility Assistance

Our doctors, nurses, and staff understand that mobility is crucial to an independent lifestyle. They work closely with experts at the UPMC Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) to prescribe assistive devices to help you maintain your mobility and independence.

The CAT also makes referrals to vocational, social, and other community services, as needed.

Make an Appointment

Call 412-232-8903 to make an appointment at the Adult Spina Bifida Clinic at UPMC Mercy.

» Directions to the Adult Spina Bifida Clinic.

Call 1-800-533-UPMC (533-8762) to make an appointment with a doctor from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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