Tethered Spinal Cord Program | Your Visit

At Boston Children’s, we consider you and your child integral parts of the care team—not  simply recipients of care. We specialize in family-centered treatment, which means that from your first visit to our Tethered Spinal Cord Program, you’ll work with a team of professionals who are committed to meeting your child's medical and surgical needs while providing emotional, psychosocial and educational support for your family.

Your child’s Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome appointment: FAQ

How can I schedule an initial appointment with the Boston Children’s Department of Neurosurgery?
You may request an appointment by calling us at 617-355-6008 or by using our secure “Request an appointment” form.

Please be sure you have the following information on hand:

  • your child’s full name, address, and date of birth
  • your (or, if you are not the child’s parent/legal guardian, the official guardian’s) full name, address, phone number and relationship to the child
  • your insurance provider’s name(for example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts), the name of the specific plan covering the child (for example, HMO Blue), and your subscriber identification number
  • the name, address, and phone number of your child’s primary care physician
  • the name, address, and phone number of your child’s referring physician (if different from the primary care provider)
  • a basic summary of your child’s symptoms and medical history, including any prior surgeries or treatment procedures
What if I don’t have a referral for my child’s appointment?
If you don’t have a referral from your child’s primary physician, you may be asked to reschedule your initial Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome appointment until the referral comes through.

Or, you will have the option to sign a waiver and pay a $250 waiver fee. (We recommend that you pay the waiver fee by check or credit card, as this will make stopping payment easier should you get a referral by the next business day after your child’s appointment. We are able to refund your waiver fee if you call us at 617-355-60008 with the necessary referral information by noon the next business day).
If you get a referral more than 24 hours after your child’s appointment, you will have to wait for your insurance company to pay for the claim. This may take up to 90 days. Your waiver fee will be automatically returned to you once the insurance company pays the claim. (Unfortunately, since this process is fully automated, we are unable to expedite the return of the fee.) If, after 90 days, you still have not received your refund, please call our billing company at 1-800-853-8110.

What should I tell my child before his or her appointment?
Your child’s age and individual circumstances may determine which information (and the amount of information) you choose to share before the initial neurosurgery appointment. Guidelines for a beneficial conversation might include:
  • explaining that the doctor you will be meeting is going to help find the best treatment so your child can feel better
  • visiting the Boston Children’s web site and taking a “virtual tour” of the hospital with your child
  • reassuring your child that you will be there throughout the appointment
  • encouraging your child to ask any questions that come to mind, both before and during the appointment
What should I bring to my child’s appointment?
When you make your initial appointment, a member of the Tethered Spinal Cord Program staff will go over everything you’ll need on the day of your visit. A good checklist of take-along items should include:
  • the name of the doctor you will be seeing
  • the name and floor of the Children’s building you will be visiting
  • the name and telephone number of your referring physician
  • your insurance card(s)
  • co-payment for your insurance, if applicable
  • referrals or authorizations from your child's primary care doctor's office, if applicable
  • all medical or personal records, such as x-rays or lab tests, pertaining to your child’s condition
  • a list of your child's medications
  • a list of questions you have for the doctor and staff (if appropriate for your child's situation and maturity, you may want to have him or her come up with questions that he or she is curious about)
  • your child's and your Social Security numbers (for insurance purposes)
  • any forms mailed to you by the Tethered Spinal Cord Program
  • books, games, snacks, formula, diapers, a change of baby clothes or other necessities (please do not bring food if your child must fast for testing)
I would like copies of my child’s x-rays, MRIs or CT scans taken at Children’s. How can I request this?
All requests for films taken at Boston Children’s need to go through the hospital’s film library. You may be charged a fee, depending on the number of copies you need. Please call the film library at 617-355-6283 to place an order.
I received a bill for my child’s Department of Neurosurgery appointment. Who should I call with questions?
Please call 617-355-3397 for questions related to billing.
What if I have to reschedule my child’s appointment?
If you need to reschedule an appointment, please use the list below to call the designated number for your child’s neurosurgeon. (Please give at least 24 hours’ advance notice whenever possible.)
  • Dr. Mark Proctor: 617-355-2403
  • Dr. Edward Smith: 617-355-8414
  • Dr. Benjamin Warf: 617-355-6005          
My child’s health problems can be overwhelming for me sometimes. Does Boston Children’s offer a service to help me find the information and additional support I may need?
Our Center for Families is dedicated to helping families find the information and resources they need to better understand their child’s medical condition and take part in their care. All patients, families and professionals are welcome to use the Center’s services at no extra cost. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please call 617-355-6279 for more information.