Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is rare, but no one knows exactly how prevalent it is because it commonly goes undiagnosed. It can affect children and adults, but the causes of TCS differ.
Can adults have a tethered cord?
Adult Tethered Cord is characterized by a spinal cord that is located at an abnormally low position within the spinal canal. The position in which it comes to rest in an adult (L1 or L2) is caused by the growth of the individual.
What causes tethered cord in adults?
Possible causes of a tether in a previously normal spine include: A spinal tumor. Infection. Scar tissue (from surgery or an injury) that binds to the spinal cord.
Can you live with a tethered cord?
With treatment, individuals with tethered spinal cord syndrome have a normal life expectancy. However, some neurological and motor impairments may not be fully correctable. Surgery soon after symptoms emerge appears to improve chances for recovery and can prevent further functional decline.
Is tethered cord surgery serious?
The combined complication rate of this surgery is usually 1-2%. Complications include infection, bleeding, and damage to the spinal cord or myelomeningocele, which may result in decreased muscle strength or bladder or bowel function.
How long is recovery from tethered cord surgery?
Although each child’s experience is different, a typical hospital stay after a tethered cord release lasts four to seven days. If your child has the procedure, they will likely be hospitalized in the Neurosciences Unit. Here, they rest flat in bed for 24 to 72 hours after surgery.
Does a tethered spinal cord always require surgery?
Most cases of spinal cord tethering are treated with surgery. The surgery may be relatively straightforward with minimal risk, or may be more involved depending on your child’s type of spinal tether. Some cases of very minor tethering in a child without symptoms can be monitored without surgery.
What tethered cord feels like?
Symptoms of Tethered Spinal Cord
Common symptoms include back pain that radiates to the legs, hips, and rectal or genital areas. Many also report feelings of weakness or numbness in the legs, as well as muscle loss. In some cases, bladder or bowel dysfunction may be present.
How do you test a tethered cord?
Tethered Spinal Cord | Testing & Diagnosis
- For newborns younger than 3 months, the easiest and fastest way to diagnose this condition is with an ultrasound of the back. …
- For children older than 3 months, the most effective test is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
What happens if a tethered spinal cord goes untreated?
Consequences of Untreated Tethered Cord
Patients with untreated tethered cord will continue to experience their current symptoms, and their motor and sensory function may worsen. Particularly in children, lengthening of the spine with growth can lead to paraplegia and loss of bowel and bladder function.
Is headache a symptom of tethered cord?
Signs & Symptoms
Tethering may affect the function of the entire spinal cord even though the structural problem lies at its lowest point. As a result, those affected with tethered cord syndrome may complain of headache, nausea, and even arm pain.
Is tethered spinal cord genetic?
Since tethered cord syndrome is a physiological disorder and develops only when it is abnormally stretched, it cannot be connected to genetic factors, unless the congenital susceptibility of spinal cord to oxidative metabolic impairment is proven.
Is tethered spinal cord curable?
The good news is that tethered spinal cord is a very treatable condition, especially when diagnosed and treated early. Surgery is the most common treatment to “untether” the spinal cord from the spinal tissue.