Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurological disorder which limits the movements of the spinal cord within the spinal column as a result of tissue attachments, causing abnormal stretching of the spinal cord.
This syndrome is closely associated with spina bifida; however, in cases of tethered spinal cord syndrome, the lower tip of the spinal cord is normally located opposite the disc between the first and second lumbar vertebrae in the upper part of the lower back. Whereas with spina bifida (myelomeningocele), the spinal cord fails to separate from the skin of the back during development, which prevents it from ascending normally resulting in a low-lying, or tethered, spinal cord.
The following disorders may also cause tethered spinal cord syndrome:
To diagnose tethered spinal cord syndrome, the doctor performs a physical exam, to look for signs and symptoms. You most likely will have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), so the doctor can see inside your body to assess the condition for a confirmation of the diagnosis.
Surgery is a treatment option for tethered spinal cord syndrome; however, to relieve pain if surgery is not advisable, the spinal cord nerve roots may be cut. In a small percentage of patients, spinal instability may require spinal fusion.
Spinal fusion is an operation that creates a solid union between two or more vertebrae to help relieve severe, chronic spine pain by strengthening and stabilizing the spine.
There are a variety of the different types of lumbar fusions:
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