Tethered cord syndrome and transitional vertebrae

  • Melda ApaydinEmail author
Original Article



Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) usually presents with low-lying conus medullaris and thickened filum terminale. Spinal cord anomalies usually accompany congenital malformations and variations of the vertebral column. Transitional vertebrae (TV) are common variant, especially in the lumbosacral region. Accurate definition of the spine level is essential for proper radiological diagnosis and treatment. In this study, congenital spinal cord and vertebral anomalies and the relation with TV groups and types were evaluated in TCS patients.


The study was performed in 97 patients. Radiological imaging findings [computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and radiography] and medical records were evaluated. Spine bony malformation, spinal cord malformation, and spinal level of malformation were compared with TV and non-TV groups in TCS patients. In addition, TV groups and types were compared with each other for these anomalies.


There was no statistically significant difference between TV and non-TV group in terms of the presence of vertebral bone and spinal cord anomalies. There were some significant differences in some of the spine bone and spinal cord anomalies among the groups and types of TV.


Sixty-two point nine percent TCS patients had TV. Although these findings indicate that TV is common in patients with TCS, no significant difference is observed in most of the studied anomalies. However, there were some differences among the TV groups and TV types in relation to congenital malformations. It can be concluded that TV anomaly could be a distinct malformation apart from all the other anomalies that were studied. Transitional vertebrae may cause pain due to biomechanical changes in addition to progressive neurological symptoms which are usually seen with TCS.


Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae Spinal cord Tethered cord syndrome Transitional vertebrae Thoracolumbar junction 


Author contributions

MA is sole author and responsible for entirety of manuscript. I would like to thank statistician N. Donder for his great effort and contribution for the study.


No funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest in relation to this article.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyIzmir Ataturk Education and Research HospitalIzmirTurkey

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