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Doctor insights on: Complications From Tethered Spinal Cord Release

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What is tethered spinal cord syndrome?

What is tethered spinal cord syndrome?

Stretched spine: Tethered cord syndrome is where the spinal cord is stretched because it failed to grow along with the rest of the spine. The cord is attached to the sacrum but as we grow as a child this attachment lengthens along with our body growing taller. When this does not happen, the cord stretches and this causes pain, weakness, and bowel/bladder problems. If very symptomatic, it requires surgery.

Dr. Scott Falci
32 Doctors shared insights

Tethered Cord (Definition)

A tethered spinal cord is when the spinal cord becomes attached to tissue around the vertebral column, most commonly at its base. Consequently, the spinal cord cannot move freely within the canal of the vertebral column. This may cause the spinal cord to stretch out as the vertebral column grows, leading to possible nerve damage, pain and other symptoms. In most cases, the condition becomes worse over ...Read more


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Can you tell me about tethered spinal cord?

Can you tell me about tethered spinal cord?

Tethered SC: Cause is tissue attachments which limit movements of the spinal cord within the spinal canal & cause stretching of the cord. Examples are Spina Bifida congenital anomaly, injury to the cord, or narrowing due to aging.

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How do I know if I have tethered spinal cord?

Most often pain: Will be present, and this can include neurologic signs at that level, such as sensory changes or weakness as well. If it is suspected, and MRI should be ordered and it can show tethering normally. Hope that helps!

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Can you tell me more about a partial tethered spinal cord?

Can you tell me more about a partial tethered spinal cord?

Tethered spinal cord: A tethered spinal cord is a situation where the spinal is being held by a band, a lipoma or a tight cilium below its normal location. A "partially" tethered cord means the cord is abnormally low and a peds neurologist or neurosurgeon can determine if this is clinically significant.

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Hi doctors, was just wondering what is a tethered spinal cord?

Hi doctors, was just wondering what is a tethered spinal cord?

Tethered spinal cord: A tethered spinal cord is a situation where the spinal cord is abnormally low in the spinal canal. This can be caused by a fatty lesion called a lipoma, or a tight filium, a band of tissue that comes off the end of the spinal cord.

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Is there a preferred way to handle weakness due to tethered spinal cord?

Is there a preferred way to handle weakness due to tethered spinal cord?

Tethered cord: The best treatment option for tethered cord is surgery to detether or release the tension on the cord. If you have already had surgery then improving weakness is best treated with physical therapy.

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My four month old is having surgery for a tethered spinal cord. How long is the recovery?

My four month old is having surgery for a tethered spinal cord. How long is the recovery?

Ask your surgeon: This will best be answered by your pediatric neurosurgeon. Okay to take family with you for consult to help log answers and instructions about this procedure. Be well.

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I hv spinal cord adult teratoma with tethered cord syndrome opetated before two months. Can I ride bicycle or motor bike. Pl suggest?

I hv spinal cord adult teratoma with tethered cord syndrome opetated before two months. Can I ride bicycle or motor bike. Pl suggest?

Tethered spinal cord: This question is best addressed to the surgeon that did the surgery. The normal rule is 3 months after the surgery, this to allow the bone and wound healing. The surgeon who did the surgery would be the best source of info.

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Brother born spina bifida now 31 diagnosed with tethered spinal cord. Needs detethering how common/successful is it? Should he see dr in usa or sydney

Brother born spina bifida now 31 diagnosed with tethered spinal cord. Needs detethering how common/successful is it? Should he see dr in usa or sydney

Depends on symptoms: Neurosurgeons both in australia and the usa are quite capable of doing this. Practicality and logistics should dictate where it should be done. Success with detethering depends upon the symptoms that are present, and also the age at which symptoms present. Have a detailed discussion with the neurosurgeon, and perhaps get a second opinion. Choose one who does a fair number of these, at a sb center.

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Could a prominent (possibly deformed) tailbone and neurological symptoms possibly indicate a tethered spinal cord in an adult?

Could a prominent (possibly deformed) tailbone and neurological symptoms possibly indicate a tethered spinal cord in an adult?

Nope.: Tethered cord would only cause symptoms during growth spurt when spine elongates but cord is "tethered" and thus stretched. It would have absolutely zero effect upon your coccyx. When you hear hooves, it's more likely horses not zebras. Get an MRI if neuro problems, and you will likely find nerve pressure from disc or bone spurs. These are treatable nonsurgically in most cases.

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Is a ten year old, who was born with a tethered spinal cord and had surgery at 6 months old, able to ride horses at a trot or faster?

Is a ten year old, who was born with a tethered spinal cord and had surgery at 6 months old, able to ride horses at a trot or faster?

Both, if he loves it: After a successful surgery of tethered spine, which I am assuming has been the case with regular follow ups with his surgeon for a few years, there is little risk of tethering again from daily or moderately strenuous sport activities including horse riding. Let him ride the way he loves it!

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I am 17 year old with a 7 mm synovial cyst at right facets atl4-l5 outside the spinal canal. My baby brother had tethered cord /syringomyelia. Should I be concerned?

I am 17 year old with a 7 mm synovial cyst at right facets atl4-l5 outside the spinal canal. My baby brother had tethered cord /syringomyelia. Should I be concerned?

Likely unrelated: While it could be possible that there is a slight increase of spinal problems in your family over the general population a synovial cyst is not related to a tethered cord. As long as it is not causing compression of the nerve roots a synovial cyst can very well be watched but I would discuss this with your doctor.

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What are the possible symptoms or complications associated with a tethered cord?

What are the possible symptoms or complications associated with a tethered cord?

Spinal cord problems: The syndrome results from a stretching of the spinal cord which may be clinically manifest by pain, weakness, sensory changes, gait disturbance, or bowel and bladder dysfunction. The symptoms will often present after growth of the patient which may result in further stretching of the spinal cord. Sometimes repetetive movements may also trigger the symptoms.

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My son suffers from chronic back and testicular pain that comes and goes. He had tethered cord release & has syringomyelia t7-t9. Ideas for pain mngmt?

My son suffers from chronic back and testicular pain that comes and goes. He had tethered cord release & has syringomyelia t7-t9. Ideas for pain mngmt?

See osteopathic dr: It never hurts to get a second opinion with an osteopathic physician, who commonly sees spinal conditions requiring pain management, especially if it involves chronic back pain, and history of syringomelia. Since you didn't state the age of your son, the management will be different depending on the age of the child, or teenager. Do keep that in mind.

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What are potential complications of spinal cord trauma?

What are potential complications of spinal cord trauma?

Many: In the acute period: further loss of cord function, pneumonia, blood clots, pressure sores, urinary tract infections, acute depression. Later on: urinary tract infection, pressure sores, autonomic dysreflexia (severe high blood pressure), fractures and deformity of the paralyzed limbs, osteoporosis, depression.

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Does inflammation of the spinal cord lead to any major symptoms or complications?

Does inflammation of the spinal cord lead to any major symptoms or complications?

Yes: It can even lead to death. It can lead to paralysis, weakness, numbness and tingling, and many other problems. Sometimes full recovery is possible.

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Can you tell me what kind of bowel complications can arise after a spinal cord injury?

Can you tell me what kind of bowel complications can arise after a spinal cord injury?

Neurogenic Bowel: Depends on the level of injury. Injury above the sacral segments causes: upper motor neuron bowel. This can lead to prolonged transit times in the colon, and severe constipation with accidents and incomplete emptying. Injury at/below this level ex. Conus or cauda equina injury can cause loss of rectal tone and frequent accidents. A bowel routine directed by a sci doc or nurse can help manage this.