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Tethered Cord Syndrome in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is tethered cord syndrome (TCS)?

TCS means your child's spinal cord is pulled down and tied (tethered) within his or her spinal column. The spinal cord normally moves freely within the spinal column. As your child grows, the tethered cord stretches. This can cause permanent nerve damage and loss of function.

Vertebral Column

What are the signs and symptoms of TCS?

What increases my child's risk for TCS?

How is TCS diagnosed?

TCS may be diagnosed before or after your child is born. Depending on your child's age, his or her healthcare provider may ask when symptoms began. He or she may press or touch parts of your child's back or legs. He or she may also check your child's muscle strength and ability to move. Tell the provider about your child's medical history, including cancer, surgery, or injury in the spinal column. Contrast liquid may be used for some of the following tests. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

How is TCS treated?

What else do I need to know about TCS?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.