What is a tethered spinal cord in infants?

If your child has a tethered cord, also known as tethered cord syndrome, some disease, trauma or disorder has caused the cord to attach to the spinal column. As your child grows, the spinal cord can stretch, causing damage to the cord and the nerves around it.

What causes tethered spinal cord in infants?

In many cases, children are born with a tethered cord because of a problem during the development of the spine. Tethered spinal cord can also occur after birth due to damage to the spine or from scar tissue after surgery.

Can tethered spinal cord be cured?

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.

How do you test a tethered cord?

Tethered Spinal Cord | Testing & Diagnosis

  1. For newborns younger than 3 months, the easiest and fastest way to diagnose this condition is with an ultrasound of the back. …
  2. For children older than 3 months, the most effective test is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
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What tethered cord feels like?

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 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 tethered cord rare?

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.

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 long is recovery from tethered cord surgery?

After 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.

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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 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.

How successful is tethered cord surgery?

Previous studies of surgical detethering in adult patients with a tethered cord showed that pain is the most effectively treated symptom with success rates of 48%–100%. Other deficits, such as motor weakness and sphincter dysfunction, are more difficult to treat.

Is tethered cord a spinal cord injury?

What is Tethered Spinal Cord? Post-traumatic tethered spinal cord is a condition that can occur following spinal cord injury and can result in progressive deterioration of the spinal cord.

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