Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is an abnormal attachment of the spine to the tissue around it. This makes it hard for the spine to move freely. It also leads to strain and stretching on the spinal cord. This can damage nerves and cause pain. Early treatment can improve outcomes.
TCS may be present at birth. This form is caused by a problem with the way the spine forms during pregnancy. A baby may also have other birth defects, such as spina bifida.
TCS that develops after birth may be caused by:
Scar tissue following surgery
Trauma to the spinal cord
TCS is usually diagnosed in childhood, but it may not be found until problems occur in when a person is an adult.
The risk of this problem may be higher in adults with:
Hertzler DA 2nd, DePowell JJ, et al. Tethered cord syndrome: a review of the literature from embryology to adult presentation. Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Jul;29(1):E1.
Tethered cord syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/tethered-cord-syndrome. Accessed February 19, 2021.
Tethered spinal cord syndrome. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Tethered%20Spinal%20Cord%20Syndrome.aspx. Accessed February 19, 2021.
Treatments for tethered spinal cord in children. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/t/tethered-spinal-cord/treatments. Accessed February 19, 2021.
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