Tethered cord syndrome: nationwide inpatient complications and outcomes

Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
Neurosurgical FOCUS (Impact Factor: 2.11). 02/2007; 23(2):E3. DOI: 10.3171/FOC-07/08/E3
Source: PubMed


Previous investigations of health outcome after spinal surgery for tethered cord syndrome (TCS) have been single-institution studies. The aim of this study was to report inpatient complications and outcomes on a nationwide level.
The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) was used to identify patients who underwent spinal surgery for TCS in the US between 1993 and 2002. Patients who had a primary diagnosis of TCS (ICD-9 742.59) and also underwent spinal laminectomies were included in this study. Multivariate analysis was performed to analyze the effects of patient and hospital characteristics on variables such as mortality rate, nonfatal complications, LOS, and adverse outcomes in general (defined as death or discharge to an institution rather than home).
The NIS sample included data on 9733 patients with TCS who underwent surgery. The means for mortality rate, complication rate, and LOS, respectively, were 0.0005%, 9.48%, and 5.6 days. Postoperative hemorrhages or hematomas (mean rate 2.3%) were the most common complications reported. Age and complications were the only significant predictors of adverse outcome on multivariate analysis. Patients older than 65 years had a threefold increase in risk of adverse outcome compared with patients 18 to 44 years of age. On average, one postoperative complication led to a 3-day increase in mean LOS and added more than $9000 to hospital charges.
This study provides a national perspective on inpatient complications and outcomes after spinal surgery for TCS in the United States. The authors have demonstrated the impact of age, complications, and medical comorbidities on the outcome of surgery for patients with this common disorder.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "The tissue is typically obtained from tethered cord surgeries, and the donor age can vary from a few months postnatal to adulthood. The precise location of the tissue and the manner in which it is handled (including time to culture) also varies from operation to operation and naturally between clinical centers [39], [40]. Therefore, we sought to develop a rodent model for studying the FT that would permit the standardization of experiments, provide unlimited amounts of tissue, allow sampling at particular stages of the life cycle, and permit the use of transgenic animals. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells (NSCs) are undifferentiated cells in the central nervous system (CNS) that are capable of self-renewal and can be induced to differentiate into neurons and glia. Current sources of mammalian NSCs are confined to regions of the CNS that are critical to normal function and surgically difficult to access, which limits their therapeutic potential in human disease. We have found that the filum terminale (FT), a previously unexplored, expendable, and easily accessible tissue at the caudal end of the spinal cord, is a source of multipotent cells in postnatal rats and humans. In this study, we used a rat model to isolate and characterize the potential of these cells. Neurospheres derived from the rat FT are amenable to in vitro expansion in the presence of a combination of growth factors. These proliferating, FT-derived cells formed neurospheres that could be induced to differentiate into neural progenitor cells, neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes by exposure to serum and/or adhesive substrates. Through directed differentiation using sonic hedgehog and retinoic acid in combination with various neurotrophic factors, FT-derived neurospheres generated motor neurons that were capable of forming neuromuscular junctions in vitro. In addition, FT-derived progenitors that were injected into chick embryos survived and could differentiate into both neurons and glia in vivo.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The standard treatment for tethered cord syndrome (operative vs nonoperative management) that presents in adulthood remains controversial. A comparative study of tethered cord syndrome in adulthood is needed. A retrospective chart-based analysis. Patients admitted to Gulhane Military Medical Academy Department of Neurosurgery for management of caudal spinal cord tethering from June 1999 through December 2006 (N = 22). Conus level was normal in 1 patient with split cord malformation and dermal sinus. Tight terminal filum was found in 21 patients, including postrepair myelomeningocele tethered cord in 4, lipomyelomeningocele/meningocele in 8, split cord malformation in 3, dermal sinus in 7, and syringomyelia in 3. The most common complaints were back pain (15 patients, 68.1%), bladder dysfunction (8, 36.3%), fecal incontinence (2, 9.09%), and leg pain (7, 31.8%). One patient had hydrocephalus (4.5%). Ten of 22 patients underwent surgery; 8 of 10 patients had detethering; and 12 patients refused surgery. Postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leakage requiring reinforcement sutures occurred in 1 patient. There were no infectious complications. Neurologic status and outcomes were compared with preoperative findings. Some patients refuse surgery despite severe neurologic disturbances. Neurosurgeons should fully explain the risks and benefits of surgery for tethered cord to the patient and family. A much larger and prospective randomized series is needed to determine the effects of operative vs nonoperative management of tethered cord syndrome in adulthood.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · The journal of spinal cord medicine
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tethering of the spinal cord has been a recognized cause of neurological symptoms in pediatric patients and is increasingly being recognized as a cause of symptoms in adults as well. The pathophysiology surrounding spinal cord tethering has begun to be understood in the pediatric population but is still unclear in adult patients. Using a PubMed database literature search, the authors reviewed the pathology and pathophysiology surrounding the tethered spinal cord, focusing particularly on the pathophysiology of adult tethered cord syndrome (TCS). Experimental data obtained in pediatric patients at surgery and in animal models indicate that spinal cord tethering causes a reduction in spinal cord blood flow and dysfunction of neuronal mitochondrial terminal oxidase. Retrospective analyses of patients undergoing surgery for adult TCS show that many adults developed symptoms following an event that could stretch the spinal cord, while others did not. Many patients also were found to have structural lesions in addition to a tethered spinal cord at diagnosis. Both adult and pediatric TCSs are likely the result of a relative lack of blood flow to the spinal cord, causing dysfunction in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. The likely reason the syndrome present later and differently in adults is that a secondary threshold of tension or a cumulative effect of repetitive, transient tension is placed on the cord before symptoms are recognized.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2010 · Neurosurgical FOCUS
Show more