Congenital Brain and Spinal Anomalies

Congenital Brain and Spinal Anomalies

Congenital anomalies occur when the plates in a baby's skull or spine form in an unusual way. Some of the many types of anomalies are very common. Our team of specialists offers expertise and the latest treatment options for all congenital abnormalities.

The brain and spine are delicate and complex areas. We understand that children with complex conditions need a specialist with advanced training. Our team includes some of the most experienced neurosurgeons in the state of Florida. As needed they with work with rehabilitative specialists, orthopedists, neurologists, geneticists and/or psychologists to develop the best plan for each child.

What We Treat

Anomalies of the vertebral column

Our pediatric neurosurgeons are experienced in the diagnosis, care and treatment of children with malformations of the vertebral column.

Arachnoid Cysts

Arachnoid Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in the space between the brain or the spinal cord and the membrane covering the central nervous system. They may either be present at birth or the result of an injury or illness. Symptoms can include headache, nausea and vomiting, seizures, hearing and visual difficulties and problems with walking or balance.

Chiari Malformation

This condition causes pressure on the brain and spinal cord when part of the brain pushes through a normal opening at the base of the skull. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Syringomyelia
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
  • Headache
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Rapid, side-to-side eye movements
  • Muscle weakness and lack of balance or abnormal reflexes
  • Nerve problems, including paralysis

Our specialist treats more children with Chiari malformations than any other facility in the state and will work closely with your family to determine a plan for the best outcome.

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Craniosynostosis and Deformational Plagiocephaly

When the bones in a baby or child’s skull improperly fuse together, they develop a condition known as craniosynostosis. Our team of experienced surgeons offer treatment options for all varieties.

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Characterized by excess fluid on the brain, hydrocephalus affects 1 in 2,000 children. We provide the latest treatment options, as well as endoscopic techniques. Our neurosurgery team includes dedicated nurses, anesthesiologists and technicians with experience in caring for children with hydrocephalus.

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Pediatric Stroke, Moya Moya Disease and other vascular malformations

A stroke is an injury to the brain caused by reduced or blocked flow in an artery supplying oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Stroke in newborns the most typical form of pediatric stroke. Stroke in older children is less common, but it remains a risk in children with congenital heart disease, some types of cancer, certain inherited blood clotting disorders, and other conditions.
The Pediatric Stroke Program at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital not only provides high-quality clinical care, but also gives patients and families access to the latest research developments and the newest therapies.

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Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects

Children with spina bifida have a gap in their spine that allows the nerves of the spinal cord to be exposed. This opening may be visible on the outside of the body or may be under the skin and only detectable through imaging scans (known as spina bifida occulta).

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This occurs when fluid builds up in the spinal cord. Some children may not show any symptoms and will only need monitoring. If symptoms are present, imaging scans and a neurosurgeon will determine if surgery and/or physical therapy may help.

Tethered Cord

This condition occurs when the spinal cord is attached to the bottom of spinal column and is unable to move freely. It may cause problems with walk, bladder and bowel control, back pain or a curving of the spine. Tethered cord can be resolved with surgery.


We know you want what's best for your child. We're ready to assist you with your questions.

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