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Tethered cord - a new animal model


Children with myelomeningocele (MMC) are at risk of losing skills if they develop tethered cord syndrome. It's an ongoing discussion to do prophylactic tethered cord release or wait until the child develops symptoms. To learn more about tethered cord, we have developed a novel tethered cord model in pigs.

Materials and methods

Four 20 kg pigs (approximately 8 weeks old) underwent hemi-laminectomy on the 2nd segment of the sacral bone. Microsurgical dura opening was done in 1 sham pig and medulla was tethered in the remaining three. All four pigs underwent MRI using a clinically available 1.5 T magnet prior to surgery 2 weeks postoperatively.


At follow-up all pigs were asymptomatic. MRI demonstrated no structural or pathological changes in the sham pig. In all three operated pigs, the spinal cord was tethered at the 2nd segment of the sacral bone. Furthermore, MRI revealed subclinical constipation in two of our pigs.


The result of this study supports our view that a porcine animal model with tethered cord may be useful in investigation of tethered cord in MMC.

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Correspondence to Dorte Clemmensen.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Clemmensen, D., Rasmussen, M.M., Pedersen, M. et al. Tethered cord - a new animal model. Fluids Barriers CNS 6 (Suppl 2), S46 (2009).

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