Tethered Spinal Cord

What is a tethered spinal cord?

A tethered spinal cord occurs when the spinal cord is attached to tissue around the spine, most commonly at the base of the spine. As a result, the spinal cord can’t move freely within the spinal canal. This can cause the spinal cord to stretch out as the spine grows, leading to possible nerve damage, pain and other symptoms. In most cases, the condition becomes worse over time.

Tethered spinal cord is common in children with spina bifida, but it also occurs in children who don’t have this condition.

The good news is that tethered spinal cord is a very treatable condition, especially when diagnosed and treated early. Surgery is the most common treatment to “untether” the spinal cord from the spinal tissue.

Mark Proctor, MD - Neurosurgeon-in-Chief, Department of Neurosurgery

How we care for tethered spinal cord

Our team at the Boston Children’s Hospital Tethered Spinal Cord Program provides complete diagnostic, consultation, surgical and follow-up care for children with tethered spinal cord.