Minimally Invasive Tubular Tethered Cord Release in the Pediatric Population

Saeed S. Sadrameli, Jason K. Chu, Tiffany M. Chan, William J. Steele, Daniel J. Curry, Sandi K. Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) refers to a clinical constellation of signs and symptoms associated with tension in the spinal cord and associated with pathologies related to abnormally low-lying conus medullaris. As minimally invasive spinal operations have become more prevalent in the past decade, we applied expanding indications to selected intradural procedures, such as tethered cord release (TCR). We present the first series of minimally invasive muscle-sparing TCR in the pediatric population. Methods: A retrospective review of the Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, neurosurgical database was conducted for patients who underwent TCR between 2010 and 2017. Charts were reviewed to determine the source of TCS and whether surgery was conducted in a minimally invasive fashion. To establish a cohort of control population, age-matched cases of open TCR were selected in the same. Exclusion criterion was non-fatty filum sources of TCS. The length of stay, operative time, estimated blood loss, and postoperative complications were recorded. Results: Eleven patients underwent minimally invasive TCR. Mean age of the patients was 10.1 years. All patients underwent L4-5 tubular laminotomy and cord detethering by 2 pediatric neurosurgeons at Texas Children's Hospital. The average length of stay in the hospital was 2.6 days. The average operative time was 167 minutes and average estimated blood loss was 8.2 mL. Ten patients reported clinical improvement and 1 patient was lost to follow-up. Conclusions: Minimally invasive TCR is a safe and represents a viable alternative to the open approach with advantages such as minimal estimated blood loss, shortened length of stay, and postoperative pain control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e912-e917
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Minimally invasive spine
  • Tethered cord release
  • Tethered cord syndrome
  • Tubular laminectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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