FAQ on Pre-Natal Spina Bifida Surgery & Treatment Costs Guide
This page contains the most popular questions people have asked and enquired about Pre-Natal Surgery, Pre-Natal Treatment, Cost of Treatments for Spina Bifida, and the most important facts surrounding this specific medical condition that affects babies, children, and adults. On this page, you can find the answers to the most popular questions asked online about this birth defect, such as the known and unknown facts based on medical studies publicly available on this condition.
Spina Bifida: Surgery, Repair Treatment, Success Rate & Recovery Period
Can spina bifida be corrected with surgery?
Spina Bifida can be corrected with surgery either while the baby is still in the womb or after the baby is born. A baby with this birth defect needs to have immediate surgery to prevent further injury and infection to the export part of the spinal cord. Surgery is usually completed within the first 48 hours of the baby’s life.
If this condition is detected while the baby is still in the womb, fetal surgery is advised to repair the defect to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. This surgery option is available at specialty centers managed by teams experienced in fetal surgery. 
How successful is spina bifida surgery?
Spina bifida surgery can be successful if action is taken as soon as this birth defect is detected in the patient. Research findings show that prenatal surgery benefits patients more than postnatal surgery. Trials conducted on babies and children who underwent prenatal surgery have had positive results compared to patients who underwent spina bifida post-surgery repair treatment.
Studies show that babies with this condition who have received prenatal surgery had better overall motor function and were able to walk just two and a half years after the surgery.
Prenatal surgery can also result in lesser chances of the patients needing a shunt. Children who underwent this procedure were able to have better control of their bladder and bowel movements than patients who were operated on after birth. 
How long does it take to recover from spina bifida surgery?
It takes 4 to 5 days to recover from spina bifida surgery. Prenatal SB repair is handled by a team of medical experts. After the surgery, expectant mothers are to remain at the hospital for 4 – 5 days and are cared for by skilled nurses who have years of experience in fetal surgical care.
As soon as the prenatal SB repair treatment is completed, the fetus will be constantly monitored via ultrasound. After being discharged from the hospital, patients are advised to stay locally for 2 -3 weeks and modify their activity.
Patients will need to seek their doctor’s advice if they wish to travel. Babies who have undergone prenatal fetal surgery will remain in the hospital for up to a week for observation after their birth.
For postnatal SB surgery, which takes place 24 to 48 hours after birth, babies will remain in the hospital for 1 to 3 weeks. During that period, babies can be nursed and if there is no difficulty in the feeding process, doctors will most likely approve the discharge. 
How long does a baby stay in the hospital after spina bifida surgery?
A baby can stay for 1 to 3 weeks in the hospital after spina bifida surgery. Antibiotics will be given to prevent infections and additional tests will be performed to ensure that the baby is healing normally. The baby will be monitored closely in NICU after the SB repair treatment and if the doctor finds everything normal, the baby will be discharged.
After the surgery, the baby will be nursed and if there is no difficulty and the baby is growing and putting on weight normally, he/she can be discharged from the hospital. Babies born with this birth defect might require life-long, multidisciplinary care from skilled and experienced pediatric specialists. 
How long does it take to recover from spina bifida surgery?
It takes 4 to 5 days to recover from spina bifida surgery. For prenatal surgery cases, expectant mothers are monitored in the hospital for 4 to 5 days. For postnatal surgery cases, babies might stay in NICU for 1 to 3 weeks until they are ready to be discharged. 
Spina Bifida: Non-Surgical Cost, Surgical & Treatment Cost For Pre-Natal and Postnatal Cases
How much does spina bifida surgery cost?
Spina bifida surgery costs up to $58,406.71(median cost) for prenatal surgery and subsequent care and up to $49,889.95(median cost) for postnatal surgery and subsequent care at 1 year. For prenatal surgery cases, the median cost for mothers is up to $24,548.29 and for mother/child pair, it is up to $102,377.75 at 1 year. For postnatal surgery cases, the median cost for mothers is up to $5087.30 and for mother/child pair, it is up to $55,667.82 at 1 year. 
The direct and indirect costs per year for the treatment of SB presented in the Euro Currency are shown below in Table-1.
|Table-1: Anatomical type ratio of spina bifida: direct and indirect costs per year presented in Euro Currency|
|Medical examinations||€ 625||5.2%||€ 541||5.0%|
|Emergency room||€ 20||0.2%||€ 24||0.2%|
|Hospitalizations||€ 554||4.6%||€ 1717||15.8%|
|Diagnostic and laboratory tests||€ 385||3.2%||€ 206||1.9%|
|Drug treatments||€ 403||3.3%||€ 177||1.6%|
|Other treatments||€ 69||0.6%||€ 49||0.5%|
|Assistive devices||€ 4985||41.2%||€ 2987||27.5%|
|Direct health care||€ 7041||58.2%||€ 5701||52.4%|
|Transportation||€ 165||1.4%||€ 165||1.5%|
|Overnight stay||€ 130||1.1%||€ 130||1.2%|
|Travel and accommodation cost||€ 295||2.4%||€ 295||2.7%|
|Absence from work||€ 4767||33.3%||€ 4009||36.9%|
|Total||€ 12,103||100.0%||€ 10,005||92.0%|
Source: Robbins JM, Bird TM, Tilford JM, et al. Hospital stays, hospital charges, and in-hospital deaths among infants with selected birth defects: United States, 2003. MMWR. 2007;56(2):25-9.
How much does spina bifida treatment cost?
(Video abstract of original research paper A cost-of-illness study of spina bifida in Italy published in the open access journal Clinico Economics and Outcomes Research by authors Giorgio L Colombo, Sergio Di Matteo, Marta Vinci et al.)
Spina Bifida treatment costs vary based on the type of treatment the patient is undergoing and based on the patient’s age and the severity of this condition. Records show that the cost of SB treatment is much higher if treatment is carried out during the patient’s childhood as opposed to SB treatment carried out in adult patients or other population groups.
The different treatments for babies/children and adults with this birth defect presented in the Euro Currency are mentioned in Table 2 below.
|Table-2: Direct and indirect costs of spina bifida per year presented in Euro Currency|
|Cost per year
|Medical examinations||€ 592||5.2%|
|Emergency room||€ 21||0.2%|
|Diagnostic and laboratory tests||€ 325||2.9%|
|Drug treatments||€ 328||2.9%|
|Other treatments||€ 62||0.5%|
|Assistive devices||€ 4,307||37.9%|
|Direct health care||€ 6,542||57.6%|
|Overnight stay||€ 130||1.1%|
|Travel and accommodation costs||€ 295||2.6%|
|Absence from work||€ 4,514||39.8%|
Source: Drummond M. Cost-of-illness studies: a major headache? Pharmacoeconomics. 1992;2(1):1– 4.
How much is non-surgical spina bifida treatment in adults?
Non-surgical spina bifida treatment in adults is lower compared to the surgical procedures to treat this condition. Records show that the annual cost per patient was $11,066 in 1993 and $65,177 in 2003. The cost of this treatment varies from age to age.
The direct and indirect costs per patient based on distribution by age presented in the Euro Currency are shown below in Table-3.
|Table-3: Direct and indirect costs per patient based on distribution by age|
|Medical examinations||€ 549||4.0%||€ 676||6.1%||€ 493||4.7%|
|Emergency room||€ 62||0.4%||€ 15||0.1%||€ 9||0.1%|
|Hospitalizations||€ 2134||15.4%||€ 390||3.5%||€ 1047||10.0%|
|Diagnostic and laboratory tests||€ 293||2.1%||€ 474||4.3%||€ 131||1.3%|
|Drug treatments||€ 255||1.8%||€ 357||3.2%||€ 322||3.1%|
|Other treatments||€ 85||0.6%||€ 49||0.4%||€ 69||0.7%|
|Assistive devices||€ 5229||37.7%||€ 3916||35.3%||€ 4415||42.2%|
|Direct health care||€ 8606||62.0%||€ 5877||52.9%||€ 6487||61.9%|
|Transportation||€ 165||1.2%||€ 165||1.5%||€ 165||1.6%|
|Overnight stay||€ 130||0.9%||€ 130||1.2%||€ 130||1.2%|
|Travel and accommodation costs||€ 295||2.1%||€ 295||2.7%||€ 295||2.8%|
|Absence from work (including accompanying persons)||€ 4981||35.9%||€ 4936||44.4%||€ 3692||35.3%|
|Total||€ 13,882||100.0%||€ 11,107||100.0%||€ 10,473||100.0%|
Source: Drummond MF, Sculpher MJ, Torrance GW, O’Brien BJ, Stoddart GL. Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes, 3rd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2006.
What is the cost of prenatal vs postnatal spina bifida myelomeningocele surgery?
The cost of prenatal vs postnatal spina bifida myelomeningocele surgery is around $20,583(median cost) for prenatal myelomeningocele repair and postoperative care and $29,445(median cost) for postnatal myelomeningocele repair and postoperative care. 
Cost of prenatal versus postnatal myelomeningocele closure for both mother and child at 1 year of life
Cost of prenatal versus postnatal myelomeningocele closure for both mother and child at 1 year of life is reportedly at $58,406.71(median cost) for children in the prenatal group and $24,548.29(median cost) for mothers in the prenatal group compared with $49,889.95(median cost) for children in the postnatal group and $5087.30(median cost) for mothers in the postnatal group. 
These are the most popular questions on pre-natal surgery, pre-natal treatment, and cost of treatments for both pre-natal and post-natal cases of Spina Bifida that have been asked in recent times. If there’s something that you would like to ask regarding this disorder, do not hesitate to drop us a message. If there’s something you would like to ask about this content, please let us know.
- Spina bifida. AANS. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Spina-Bifida
- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (2020, January 23). Benefits of fetal surgery for spina bifida persist in school-age children. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://www.chop.edu/news/benefits-fetal-surgery-spina-bifida-persist-school-age-children
- Spina Bifida Treatment: Midwest fetal care center. Children’s Minnesota. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://www.childrensmn.org/services/care-specialties-departments/fetal-medicine/conditions-and-services/spina-bifida/
- Story, C. M. (2017, March 31). Meningocele Repair: Purpose, procedure & recovery. Healthline. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/health/meningocele-repair
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Spina bifida. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/spina-bifida
- Kessler, B. A., Catalino, M. P., Quinsey, C., Goodnight, W., & Elton, S. (2019, October 1). Cost of prenatal versus postnatal myelomeningocele closure for both mother and child at 1 year of life. focus. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://thejns.org/focus/view/journals/neurosurg-focus/47/4/article-pE15.xml
- Evaluating the cost‐effectiveness of prenatal surgery for … (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/uog.11176
- Kessler BA;Catalino MP;Quinsey C;Goodnight W;Elton S; (n.d.). Cost of prenatal versus postnatal myelomeningocele closure for both mother and child at 1 year of life. Neurosurgical focus. Retrieved February 22, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31574469/
Old References References
- Robbins JM, Bird TM, Tilford JM, et al. Hospital stays, hospital charges, and in-hospital deaths among infants with selected birth defects: United States, 2003. MMWR. 2007;56(2):25-9.
- Ireys HT, Anderson GF, Shaffer TJ, Neff JM. Expenditures for care of children with chronic illnesses enrolled in the Washington State Medicaid program, fiscal year 1993. Pediatrics. 1997;100:197-204.
- Ouyang LJ, Grosse SD, Armour BS, Waitzman NJ. Health care expenditures of children and adults with SB in a privately insured US population. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2007;79:552-8.
- Kinsman SL, Doehring MC. The cost of preventable conditions in adults with SB. Eur J Pediatr Surg. 1996;6:17-20.
- Drummond M. Cost-of-illness studies: a major headache? Pharmacoeconomics. 1992;2(1):1– 4.
- Drummond MF, Sculpher MJ, Torrance GW, O’Brien BJ, Stoddart GL. Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes, 3rd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2006.
- Waitzman N, Romano P, Grosse S. The Halflife of Cost-of-Illness Estimates: The Case of SB. Salt Lake City, UT: Department of Economics, University of Utah; 2004.Working Paper Series