A birth defect involving an abnormal opening in the spinal bones (vertebrae) is called spina bifida. The spinal vertebrae have not formed and joined normally, leaving an opening.
Review Date 1/24/2023
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.