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The facts about spina bifida

Ireland has one of the highest incidences of Spina Bifida births in the world. The rate of Spina Bifida here is just under one in every 1,000 babies born. Spina Bifida is the most common neural tube defect (NTD) which causes incomplete development of the spinal cord. Translated, it literally means 'split spine'. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, which normally cover and protect the spinal cord. With Spina Bifida, some of these vertebrae are not completely formed.

Instead, they are split and the spinal cord and its coverings usually protrude through a sac-like bulge on the back, covered with a thin membrane.



  • Thanks to new medical treatments and technology, most people born with Spina Bifida can expect to live a normal life.
  • People with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus have many special challenges because of their birth defect, but their condition does not define who they are.


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