Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is a common and disabling disorder in which the embryonic neural tube does not fully close. Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists work collaboratively alongside orthopaedic surgeons, neurological surgeons and urologists at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California to help children with spina bifida lead active, productive lives.

Medical Concentration

    • Myelomeningocele, myelodysplasia, lipomeningocele
    • Non-surgical and surgical treatment to achieve bowel and bladder continence
    • Surgical and orthotic treatment of orthopaedic deformities (legs and spine)

The Medical Team

Maya Evans, M.D.
Medical Director of Spina Bifida Program
Dr. Evans is Board Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Brain Injury Medicine, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Craig McDonald, M.D.
Associate Medical Director
Dr. McDonald is Board certified in both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine.  He also is Professor of Clinical Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California Davis, School of Medicine.

Joel Lerman, M.D.
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Dr. Lerman provides care to children with congenital and acquired orthopaedic conditions. He is noted for his non-surgical treatment of children with clubfoot.

Vedant Kulkarni, M.D.
Dr. Kulkarni’s work is devoted to improving outcomes for children with neuromuscular conditions, hip disorders and traumatic injuries.

Sam Ciricillo, M.D.
Neurological Surgeon
Dr. Ciricillo is a Diplomate with the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Eric Kurzrock, M.D.
Urologic Surgeon
Dr. Kuzrock is Board certified by the Medical Board of California, Physician and Surgeon, and the American Board of Urology and  the recipient of numerous awards.

Teresa Scavone, P.N.P
Case Manager

Susie Williams, BSN, RN
Spina Bifida & Urology Care Manager

Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Care

All patients benefit from the expertise of the entire medical team, which provides multi-disciplinary clinics. Coordinated by the Case Manager, the collaborative approach to care extends to nurses, physical therapists, orthotists, and child-life therapists who treat patients in mind, body and spirit. The expertise, experience and environment of care create a synergy that distinguishes the Spina Bifida program at Shriners Hospitals for Children.


Diana Farmer, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Chair of Surgery at UC Davis, performs and studies repair of neural tube defects in-utero. Meanwhile, scientific researchers at SHCNC search for cures. Adding folic acid, a vitamin, to the maternal diet diminishes the frequency of spina bifida, but how folate does this remains a mystery. Through microscopic observations of the developing frog, scientists at Shriners Hospital have obtained novel evidence that folate increases the ability of cells on the two sides of the spinal cord to fuse together and prevent spina bifida. Another study is investigating whether a protein that controls the development of arms, legs, the face and brain may be involved in the etiology of spina bifida.

Patient Referral

916-453-2111 (Emergency Referral)
916-453-2395 (fax)

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