What is a tethered cord?

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What is a tethered cord?

Postby blue1 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:48 am

blue1
blue1
 

Postby hartagold23 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:15 am

Hi, Blue1

It's basically when your spinal cord/nerves get "stuck" on something, maybe scar tissue; other surrounding tissues, etc. Neurosurgeons have to go in and "unstick" or "detether" the cord to free it.

Hope this helps.

Barb
SM/TCS/SB-lipoma/B12 def/Scoliosis/IBS. Had TCS surgery May 24 '07-syrinx totally drained! CSF leak repair--July 16 '07. Currently using a walker for short distances, probably permanently. Surgery was worth it to kill most of the pain!
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Postby blue1 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:27 pm

Sounds very complicated. Could it be missed on MRI scans?
Is it the nerves at the end of the cord that extend from L1 downward where they split up into smaller nerves.

How could they tell if it was from a syrinx or disc problems?
Slightly Confused,
blue1
How serious is dextroscoliosis?
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Postby hartagold23 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:09 pm

I have heard of several cases where the docs can't see the tethered cord on the MRIs, but they suspect it due to symptoms, and when they go in during surgery, they can see it plain as day. As for the rest of your questions, I'm gonna step aside and let someone more knowledgeable answer.

Barb
SM/TCS/SB-lipoma/B12 def/Scoliosis/IBS. Had TCS surgery May 24 '07-syrinx totally drained! CSF leak repair--July 16 '07. Currently using a walker for short distances, probably permanently. Surgery was worth it to kill most of the pain!
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Postby Gracie Rose » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:02 pm

Hi,

There are several kinds of tethered cord. There is an excellent site at www.answers.com/topic/tethered-spinal-cord-syndrome. Also
www.conquerchiari.org has some articles on it that are good. Go to Volumes and search tethered cord.

Some cases of tethered cord are visible on MRI some not hence the name Occult Tethered Cord. There are some signs of it like a sacral dimple, or a patch of hair at the lower back. Some cases are at birth like with Spina Bifida, but now there's new findings that it may not be detected until adulthood. It can be aquired from scar tissue in the area, or fatty little tumors can tether a spinal cord. Sometimes the thin, thread-like Phyllum Terminale that attaches the lower cord to the spine, can be overly stretched causing problems.

Most of us with it have had some symptoms all of our lives but they seemed odd but not enough to seek medical help. Severe growing pains, pain in the legs, feet and lower back are common in the teen years, but it never gets better when growth stops. These are things pediatricians hear but aren't all that uncommon. It's in hindsight that it was more than the norm.

Symptoms can just progress slowly over time until you notice something just isn't right. Bowel and bladder symptoms like frequency and/or urgency, constipation or diarrhea can be miserable and will get folks to the doctor. Onset of sexual symptoms like numbness and tingling in the pelvic area, a disinterest in sex, inability to reach orgasm can be symptoms of nerve problems due to TC.

There can even be foot deformities, with arch problems. I've heard folks describe a "pulling" sensationfrom the foot on up to the lower back. Also, bladder infections and kidney infections can be seen.

It seems there is a connection between Chiari, Ehlers-Danlos and Tethered Cord. All can be found alone or in combination.

Most tethers are at the bottom of the cord , but rarely they are higher. I know of one gal on this board with a cervical tether.

I guess this is probably more than you wanted to know huh :D ????

My de-tethering was very successful and most of my symptoms are completely gone. This does not always happen and in fact I believe the goal of a de-tethering is to stop progression. I had awful bowel and bladder stuff, terrible growing pains and whenever I'd jump off something like a horse or a high place I'd have DAGGERS through the bottom of my feet!!! Thankfully they are gone and the "pull" is gone.

Hope that helps and you're still awake :roll:

Lisa in WA
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Postby kmjofga » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:24 pm

Thanks for that excellent post about TCS.

When I was diagnosed with TCS and SM last year, it was overwhelming. I have had issues with all of the things you posted since I was a kid.
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Postby Gracie Rose » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:28 pm

Isn't it so funny to look back and see what was TC ?? I was amazed at how many things were not normal, but who goes around asking," Excuse me how many times do you go potty a day ???" :oops:

I am so fortunate to have had a good outcome. Mine was 10 months ago, so I am still cautious as I know there is a small recurrence rate.

Lisa in WA
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Postby mac » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:52 pm

Lisa, thanks so much for that great post!! I read it with great interest and going to look up that website too. Dr. B dx'd me with TC and now I need to go to TCI for "section filum terminale" or detethering.

For me, all the symptoms came POST injury (broken neck at C1). I remember my feet felt numb in the hospital...and they got worse and worse. And I remember being in the recliner and having this feeling like I wished my husband could scoop me up with one arm under my knees, that that would relieve something. I really had a feeling that would help. it was odd. Of course, I didn't understand how my C1 had anything to do with that at the time (pre TCS dx but post injury), but I had read that if you have injury high enough up the Cspine, you can have lower extremity symptoms as well as upper.

I have urinary symptoms, and now that I am doing some gardening, I'm suffering terribly. My lower back...my burning hips at time and burning thighs (usually I wake up in bed with these feelings). I guess in my case, it was congenital, but aggravated by my upper spinal cord injury.

So, just a little more to add to the mix...I'd love to hear all that anyone else has to say about their experiences, too. Lisa and Barb, hearing your success stories really gives me hope!

thanks again
mac
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Postby CrazyCat » Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:33 am

I have a TC. I've had this for about the same amount of time I've had ACM. They keep telling me it isn't anything to worry about and no it doesn't cause problems...sigh... One more thing to add to the TCI list. :)
~Be who you are and say how you feel, because the people who matter don't mind and the people who mind don't matter.~
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Postby razzle51 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:37 am

sorry repeat :(
Last edited by razzle51 on Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
I choose not to place "DIS" in my ability.

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pain

Postby razzle51 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:38 am

Blue to answer your other question dextroscoliosis means that this curvature is to the right. And as far as I know shouldnt cause pain .Rarely, when combined with stenosis this condition can cause irritation of the nerve roots on the inside of the curve .
Dextroscoliosis is simply a term referring to scoliosis in which the primary curve is to the right, when viewed from behind. The most common curve pattern is right thoracic, left lumbar.
I choose not to place "DIS" in my ability.

There is a light at the end of every tunnel....just pray it's not a train!.

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