Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida (Myelomeningocele)

Fetal surgery for myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida, is a delicate surgical procedure where fetal surgeons open the uterus and close the opening in the baby's back while they are still in the womb. Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. (Watch a video to learn more about fetal repair of spina bifida.)

Mothers carrying a baby with myelomeningocele who choose fetal surgery for spina bifida require the most expert and carefully coordinated care from the time of diagnosis through care after your baby is born. Our team has performed more than 327 fetal surgeries on babies with myelomeningocele, maintaining optimal patient safety and following high standards for prenatal myelomeningocele repair to ensure the best possible outcomes for you and your baby.

PBS Documentary Series "Twice Born" Features Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment

Why Choose Us?

Learn more about our fetal surgery team's experience performing prenatal repair of myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bifida) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and find out what sets us apart from other fetal treatment centers.

Pregnant Mom and Child

Choosing a Fetal Treatment Center

Know what questions to ask when considering fetal surgery so you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your baby.

Pregnant Mom and Child

What to Expect

From the moment of referral through delivery and postnatal care, your family can expect a supportive experience when you come to us with a diagnosis of a birth defect.


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Audrey Rose was prenatally diagnosed with the most severe form of spina bifida. She became CHOP's 1,000th fetal surgery patient.

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