Tethered Spinal Cord + Spina Bifida Program

Tethered spinal cord and spina bifida are congenital malformations that can range from having little impact on your child’s life to causing serious symptoms. At Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, our Pediatric Neurosurgery team will work with your family to evaluate a suspected diagnosis of tethered cord or spina bifida, determine the best possible treatment plan and if needed, provide surgical treatment.

During this process, we find that the most powerful thing that we can do is to have a conversation with you about your child’s symptoms and quality of life. By understanding this and your expectations, we can develop goals and a treatment plan together.  

When is surgery an option?

Children with tethered cord or spina bifida are typically diagnosed either at birth (a spot on their back is found and imaging confirms a diagnosis) or later in childhood after symptoms like incontinence or leg and back pain are found to be associated with one of these conditions. They present differently in each child and can range from being relatively low risk to serious conditions that require surgery in order to avoid severe complications.

To determine if your child is a candidate for surgery, our team will evaluate his or her imaging (such as MRI or ultrasound scans) and evaluate whether:

  • There is a skin lesion on the back that is associated with the tethered cord or spina bifida
  • The condition is causing symptoms or is likely to cause symptoms that will impact the child’s overall health and quality of life
  • The condition is associated with other congenital syndromes.

We will evaluate all of this informationand  will discuss with you about the surgical options to determine the best approach. 

Long-term care at Floating Hospital

Follow-up care for tethered cord and spina bifida at Floating Hospital is determined based on the complexity of your child’s condition. If he or she has a complicated case, the pediatric neurosurgery team may consult with colleagues in Urology, Orthopedics and Physical Medicine to develop a long-term care plan. This plan may include regular check-ups at the hospital, follow-up imaging and in some cases, possible additional surgeries. 

Jesse Winer, MD

Jesse Winer, MD

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery; Pediatric Neurosurgeon; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurosurgery
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5878
Fax #: 617-636-7587

Pediatric neurosurgery

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