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 393 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.

Benefits of Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida Persist in School-Age Children

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.


Next Steps
Doctors during fetal surgery

Why Choose Us for Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida

Our surgeons pioneered fetal surgery for spina bifida, and have the greatest collective experience in the world.

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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Screen grab from Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida video

Surgery Before Birth: Spina Bifida

This video about fetal surgery for spina bifida explains spina bifida treatment options and the benefits of spina bifida surgery before birth.

Fetal Surgery

MMC Fetal Surgery Outcomes

Learn about key outcomes and measures of success in fetal repair of spina bifida and see how CHOP's experience compares.

Spina Bifida Patient Miah

"Fetal Surgery was Miah's best shot."

Miah is an energetic, talkative 7-year-old who doesn’t let anything get in her way.