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"Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurological 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.  The course of the disorder is progressive.  In children, symptoms may include lesions, hairy patches, dimples, or fatty tumors on the lower back; foot and spinal deformities; weakness in the legs; low back pain; scoliosis; and incontinence.  Tethered spinal cord syndrome may go undiagnosed until adulthood, when sensory and motor problems and loss of bowel and bladder control emerge.  This delayed presentation of symptoms is related to the degree of strain placed on the spinal cord over time. Tethered spinal cord syndrome appears to be the result of improper growth of the neural tube during fetal development, and is closely linked to spina bifida. Tethering may also develop after spinal cord injury and scar tissue can block the flow of fluids around the spinal cord.  Fluid pressure may cause cysts to form in the spinal cord, a condition called syringomyelia.  This can lead to additional loss of movement, feeling or the onset of pain or autonomic symptoms." (NINDS)

The form of tethered cord that I have is called Occult Tight Filum Terminale.  In this form, the filum (a piece of connective tissue at the base of the spinal cord that joins it to the backbone) thickens or hardens and causes downward pressure on and tension within the spinal cord.  The symptoms and progression are the same as traditional tethered cord, but diagnosis is still in its early stages, as it cannot be seen in most imaging studies.

The surgery done to correct this is to section the filum terminale, which releases the spinal cord from its anchor at the tailbone.  A laminectomy in the lumbar region is usually done to gain access to the filum.

I had mine done on June 26, 2008.