Spina bifida is a congenital disorder (birth defect) in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth. In severe cases, this can result in the spinal cord and its covering membranes protruding out of an affected infant's back. Spina bifida may also be nearly inconsequential, or may be repairable through surgery.
A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine (11/2/2009).