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Vol. 42, No. 1, 2006
Issue release date: December 2005
Pediatr Neurosurg 2006;42:4–13

Prevalence of Primary Tethered Cord Syndrome Associated with Occult Spinal Dysraphism in Primary School Children in Turkey

Bademci G. · Saygun M. · Batay F. · Cakmak A. · Basar H. · Anbarci H. · Unal B.
Departments of aNeurosurgery, bPublic Health, cUrology and dRadiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kirikkale, Kirikkale, and eDivision of Neurosurgery, Bayindir Hospital Neurological Sciences Center, Ankara, Turkey

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The prevalence and associated factors of primary tethered cord syndrome (PTCS) in primary school children were investigated. A cross-sectional study was performed in four demographically different primary schools in Turkey. Demographic, familial and physical data were collected from 5,499 children based on enuresis as a predominant symptom and dermatologic and orthopedic signs as clues of occult spinal dysraphism. Statistical analysis and input of the data were carried out with the SPSS package program 10.00, and logistic regression analysis was used to identify discriminating factors between enuretic children with or without neurologic signs. Of 5,499 analyzed children, 422 (7.7%) had enuresis nocturna, and 19.9% of 422 children had also daytime incontinence. Sixteen of these 422 enuretic children (3.8%) had several dermatologic signs. Five of them had spina bifida on plain radiographies, and 4 of them had cord tethering on lumbar MRI. Fifteen of 422 enuretic children (3.7%) had gait disturbances and orthopedic anomalies without cutaneous manifestations. Six of 15 children had spina bifida on plain graphies and 2 of them had tethered cord syndrome on MRI. The general prevalence of PTCS was found to be 0.1% of 5,499 analyzed children and 1.4% of enuretic children. A good outcome after untethering was found in 83.0% in this series. Practitioners should be aware of these clues of occult spinal dysraphism and resort to further radiologic and neurosurgical assessment. Early surgical intervention may halt the progression of the neurologic deficits and stabilize or reverse symptoms.

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