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Congenital spine abnormalities are disorders of the spine that develop very early in life. Some of these conditions may cause abnormal alignment of the spine. Others may affect the nerves, causing problems in moving the arms or legs, bathroom issues or pain.
Many congenital spine disorders are related to spina bifida. Babies born with spina bifida aperta or myelomeningocele may have an open defect on their backs where the skin over the spinal cord does not form correctly and the nerves are exposed. Spina bifida occulta is a condition that is not as severe as an open defect—children may have abnormalities in the bones, which may or may not cause symptoms.
Other common congenital spine abnormalities include:
Symptoms of congenital spine abnormalities vary depending on a child’s specific condition but can include:
Doctors at Riley at IU Health perform the following exams and tests to diagnose congenital spine abnormalities:
There are many treatment options for children. Treatment focuses on reducing pain, restoring function and correcting harmful abnormalities. Your child’s prognosis will depend on the severity of his or her condition. Treatments include:
Visit the links below to discover support groups and more resources for congenital spine abnormalities.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This national group provides patient information about tethered spinal cord and scoliosis, including facts about diagnosis, treatment and research efforts.
The National Institutes of Health provide more information about the symptoms, treatment and research related to tethered spinal cord.
This national group provides support and the latest information about scoliosis management for healthcare providers and families living with the condition.
This site includes information about the congenital spine abnormalities associated with spina bifida.
Pediatric neurosurgeons at Riley at IU Health are responsible for much of the research related to the treatment and management of tethered spinal cord syndrome, including protocols for selecting patients who will respond well to surgery, advances in neuronavigation technology and precise measurement of the impact on a child’s quality of life.