A tethered spinal cord is a condition where there is restricted movement of the spinal cord, which lies within the spine, surrounded by the vertebrae.

Vertebrae are the bones in your neck and back. They are the bony building blocks for your spinal column and protect your spinal cord, a thick bundle of nerve cells that carries messages for movement and feeling to all parts of the body.

A tethered spinal cord can be caused during fetal development, or it can be from scar tissue in children who have had spine surgery. If untreated, tethering of the spinal cord can cause permanent damage. The type of damage depends on where in the spine the tethering occurs.

If your child has the symptoms described and has been diagnosed with spina bifida, diastematomyelia, dermal sinus, syringomyelia or imperforate anus, they have an increased risk for a tethered spinal cord.