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Patients with urinary incontinence often benefit from surgical detethering of tight filum terminale

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We retrospectively reviewed 77 patients with a tethered spinal cord syndrome to evaluate the results of neurosurgical treatment. The patients were divided into two groups: in group 1 there were 17 patients with primary tethered cord who had normal level conus medullaris (NLCM) and normal thickness filum terminale (NTFT) with urinary incontinence, and group 2 was made up of 60 patients with secondary spinal cord tethering after a previous closure of a midline fusion defect who had a low-lying conus medullaris. Neurological examination, radiography, urodynamic tests and electrophysiological findings confirmed the diagnosis. Conventionally, tethered cord syndrome has been defined as a state in which the conus medullaris is located below the L1–2 disc space. However, in a patient with urinary incontinence and a hyperreflexive type of neurogenic bladder, in whom the conus medullaris is found to be at the normal level, there may still be cord tethering that is causing the incontinence. In this study the comparison was based on evaluation of the response to treatment and general characteristics of the syndrome in both groups of patients to draw attention to the general approach to this incapacitating maldevelopment.

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Received: 8 March 1999 Revised: 20 August 1999

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Selçuki, M., Ünlü, A., Çağlar Uğur, H. et al. Patients with urinary incontinence often benefit from surgical detethering of tight filum terminale. Child's Nerv Syst 16, 150–154 (2000).

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