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Fluids and Barriers of the CNS

Open Access

Tethered cord - a new animal model

  • Dorte Clemmensen1Email author,
  • Mikkel Mylius Rasmussen1,
  • Michael Pedersen1,
  • Sanja Karabegovich1 and
  • Claus Mosdal1
Cerebrospinal Fluid Research20096(Suppl 2):S46

Published: 27 November 2009


Animal ModelSpinal CordConstipationDuraPathological Change


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.

Authors’ Affiliations

Neurosurgical Department, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark


© Clemmensen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.