Clinical Urological Outcomes Following Primary Tethered Cord Release in Children Younger Than 3 Years

Amanda M. Macejko*, Earl Y. Cheng, Elizabeth B. Yerkes, Theresa Meyer, Robin M. Bowman, William E. Kaplan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: Current practice at our institution is to recommend tethered cord release at diagnosis to prevent the onset or worsening of symptoms. Tethered cord release is frequently performed in children younger than 3 years who often have no urological manifestations. To our knowledge there are currently no long-term data on urological outcomes in this age group. Materials and Methods: We completed a retrospective review of 475 cases of tethered cord release performed at a single institution between 1995 and 2002. Of these surgeries 173 were performed in children younger than 3 years. Clinical outcomes, and preoperative and postoperative urodynamic and radiographic studies were evaluated. Results: A total of 79 patients met study criteria. Average age at surgery was 9.6 months and average followup was 5.2 years (range 6 months to 11.2 years). At followup 49 patients (62.1%) had no urological complaints and 30 (38%) had urological problems. A total of 20 children (25.3%) had minor problems (constipation, delayed toilet training or other) and 10 (12.7%) had major problems (need for clean intermittent catheterization, febrile urinary tract infection or reflux). Of 66 patients 30 (45.5%) had abnormal preoperative urodynamics. One of 31 patients (3.2%) had hydronephrosis on preoperative ultrasound. Statistical analysis revealed that abnormal preoperative urodynamics and ultrasound were not predictive of major urological problems. Lipomatous dysraphism and preoperative musculoskeletal symptoms positively correlated with major urological problems (p = 0.0076 and 0.0484, respectively). Conclusions: The majority of children did not experience urological problems following tethered cord release. Only a small set of children had major urological problems. Children with lipomatous dysraphism and musculoskeletal symptoms were more likely to experience poor urological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1738-1743
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number4 SUPPLEMENT
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • bladder
  • neural tube defects
  • spinal dysraphism
  • urination disorders
  • urodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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