Adult tethered cord syndrome following Chiari decompression.
World Neurosurg. 2018 Jan 31;:
Authors: Jackson C, Yang BW, Bi WL, Chiocca EA, Groff MW
BACKGROUND: Adult tethered cord syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that classically presents with back or leg pain, weakness, and urinary dysfunction. Spinal cord tethering has been associated with acquired Chiari malformations. While the effects of tethered cord release on Chiari malformation symptoms have been previously described, we report an unusual case of acquired tethered cord syndrome following Chiari decompression.
CASE DESCRIPTION: We report a 68-year-old man with a history of distant T12-level spinal cord injury who presented with two weeks of progressive bilateral lower extremity weakness. The patient underwent a T12-L1 laminectomy in 1977, complicated by arachnoiditis and syringomyelia, with eventual placement of a syringo-pleural shunt. He remained neurologically stable until 2012, when he underwent a suboccipital craniectomy for Chiari decompression for new-onset headache and dysphagia. Ten days later, the patient noted progressive leg weakness and radiographic evidence of spinal cord tethering at the T11-T12 level. A T10-L1 laminectomy and medical facetectomy was undertaken for detethering with postoperative recovery of ambulatory function with assistance.
CONCLUSIONS: Our patient presented with an unusual acquisition of tethered cord syndrome. The tethering of the spinal cord may have been triggered by arachnoid adhesions from initial lumbar surgery 35 years prior to presentation and subsequently exacerbated by alterations of CSF dynamics following Chiari decompression. Given the potentially devastating sequelae of tethered cord syndrome, investigation of CSF flow dynamics may be beneficial prior to operative intervention in patients with risk factors for a tethered cord who present with adult-onset Chiari malformation.
PMID: 29409774 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]