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J Pediatr Surg. 2004 May;39(5):773-7.

Is surgery necessary for asymptomatic tethered cord in anorectal malformation patients?

Author information

1
Division of Pediatric Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Evidence supporting routine surgery for asymptomatic tethered cord in patients with anorectal malformation (ARM) is, at best, speculative. The authors therefore examined whether untethering is indicated for asymptomatic tethered cord in patients with ARM.

METHODS:

A retrospective analysis of all patients with ARM (n = 223) between 1992 and 2002 was conducted. During the same period, 435 patients had surgery for tethered cord.

RESULTS:

Tethered cord was detected radiologically in 22 (9.8%); 8 patients with a low conus, and 14 with a low conus with and thickened filum. Seven of 22 patients underwent untethering; 3 prophylatic (14%) and 4 for neuro/motor function deficits (18%). All 4 symptomatic patients had significant clinical improvement in their neuro/motor functions after surgery. However, bowel and urinary functions remained unchanged in all 7 patients with a mean follow-up of 6.4 years (range, 4 to 8 years). Fifteen patients with radiologically diagnosed tethered cord remain asymptomatic with a mean follow-up of 2.7 years (range, 8 months to 10 years).

CONCLUSIONS:

Neuro/motor functions clearly improved with surgery in symptomatic patients. However, bowel and urinary functions remained unchanged after surgery. Only 4 ARM patients with tethered cord required surgery, whereas prophylactic surgery appears to have minimal benefit. Expectant conservative approach in the management of asymptomatic tethered cord patient appears to be safe.

PMID:
15137017
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2004.01.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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