Tethered Cord Syndrome

What is Tethered Cord Syndrome?

The word “tethered” means “to fasten or confine.” Tethered Cord Syndrome is a condition where the spinal cord is abnormally attached within the bony spine causing stretching and tugging that can be painful and lead to disability.

Normally, the spinal cord moves freely through fluid within the spine from the base of the brain down to the lower back. Soon after conception, special cells join to create a tube that will form the baby’s spinal cord. The surface layer of the embryo, called the ectoderm, moves below the skin and is surrounded by connective tissue, called dura, that becomes the spinal covering and bone. If the ectoderm and the dura do not join properly or completely, the spinal cord can become “tethered.” When a child with tethered cord bends or stretches, the tension on the spinal cord can lead to permanent damage to muscles and nerves that control legs, feet, bowel and bladder.


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