New Director Takes Helm of Spina Bifida Program

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In Utero Insights

Mark R. Magnusson, MD, PhD, was recently named Medical Director of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Spina Bifida Program. Dr. Magnusson also serves as Medical Director of the Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr. Diagnostic and Complex Care Center, which provides ongoing support to patients with complex chronic medical conditions, and is an attending physician in the Division of General Pediatrics.

The Spina Bifida Program is the first-ever program to provide comprehensive evaluation and long-term management for infants, children and teens with spina bifida, spinal cord injuries and other spinal cord abnormalities.

As director, Magnusson leads a robust, multidisciplinary team that includes pediatricians, pediatric surgeons, specially trained nurses, social workers, nutritionists, and physical, occupational and rehabilitation therapists, as well as specialists in orthopaedics, urology, neurology, neurosurgery and nephrology, among others. This team provides coordinated care and consultative services to infants, children and adolescents with spina bifida and spinal cord defects, whose medical issues are complex and involve multiple body systems.

Follow-up includes visits every four to six months until age 2, then annually, with urodynamic testing and renal bladder ultrasounds to ensure kidneys function properly and bladder function is stable. Care may include clean intermittent catheterization, lower extremity bracing and physical therapy. The program works closely with each child’s primary care pediatrician and school, and helps families access appropriate community services.

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