Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is a debilitating condition of progressive neurological decline caused by pathological, longitudinal traction on the spinal cord. Surgical detethering of the involved neural structures is the classic method of treatment for lumbosacral TCS, although symptomatic retethering has been reported in 5%-50% of patients following initial release. Subsequent operations in patients with complex lumbosacral dysraphic lesions are fraught with difficulty, and improvements in neurological function are modest while the risk of complications is high. In 1995, Kokubun described an alternative spine-shortening procedure for the management of TCS. Conducted via a single posterior approach, the operation relies on spinal column shortening to relieve indirectly the tension placed on the tethered neural elements. In a cadaveric model of TCS, Grande and colleagues further demonstrated that a 15-25-mm thoracolumbar subtraction osteotomy effectively reduces spinal cord, lumbosacral nerve root, and filum terminale tension. Despite its theoretical appeal, only 18 reports of the use of posterior vertebral column subtraction osteotomy for TCS treatment have been published since its original description. In this review, the authors analyze the relevant clinical characteristics, operative data, and postoperative outcomes of all 18 reported cases and review the role of posterior vertebral column subtraction osteotomy in the surgical management of primary and recurrent TCS.
- Posterior vertebral column subtraction osteotomy
- Tethered cord syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology