Tethered Cord Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose in babies and children since the symptoms may be subtle and insidious over time. The most common symptoms of tethered cord, such as back pain, abnormal gait and urinary accidents are frequently attributed to other causes during childhood. “Tethered spinal cord is frequently misdiagnosed, or identified after symptoms have been long-standing, but proper treatment can lead to a full recovery,” says Holly Gilmer, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak.
Tethered Cord (TC) is a disorder in which the spinal cord is “stuck” to a structure within the spine such as dura, scar tissue from a previous operation, a bony spicule or even a tumor. Although most cases are congenital, the condition may not become symptomatic until later in life as the cord continues to grow
and lengthen. TC most often occurs in patients with spina bifida, although it is frequently seen with Chiari malformation. TC can affect people of all ages, but it is most often found in people ranging from infancy to teen. Symptoms of tethered cord become more pronounced during periods of rapid growth due to increased stretching of the spinal cord.