In adults, symptoms of tethered cord often develop slowly, but they can become quite severe. Symptoms may include back pain that radiates to the legs, hips, and the genital or rectal areas. The legs may feel numb or weak, and may lose muscle. Bladder and bowel control may be difficult.
What are the symptoms of a tethered spinal cord?
Symptoms of Tethered Spinal Cord
- Back pain or shooting pain in the legs.
- Weakness, numbness or problems with muscle function in the legs.
- Tremors or spasms in the leg muscles.
- Changes in the way the feet look, like higher arches or curled toes.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control that gets worse.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
Is tethered spinal cord a rare disease?
Tethered cord syndrome is a rare neurological condition. The severity of the condition and the associated signs and symptoms vary from person to person. In some cases, symptoms may be present at birth ( congenital ), while others may not experience symptoms until later in adulthood.
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.
Is a tethered spinal cord hereditary?
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 cord a form of spina bifida?
Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurologic disorder caused by tissue attachments that limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column. These attachments cause an abnormal stretching of the spinal cord. This syndrome is closely associated with spina bifida.
Can you see tethered cord on ultrasound?
Tethered cord is always a feature of open spina bifida and can be seen using prenatal ultrasound (Fig. 7).