Spine Conditions (Children):

Common conditions:

1. Spine malformations

Range of conditions – myelomeningocoele, spina bifida, spinal cord lipoma, lipomeningocoele, tethered cord, tight filum terminale, occult spinal dysraphism

The common pathophysiologic condition is the “tethering” of the spinal cord at the base of the spinal canal, causing tension within the cord, and progressive nerve damage. Symptoms and Signs
  • Low back pain
  • Leg weakness or altered sensation (numbness or tingling)
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence or constipation
  • Skin lesions on the back – hairy patch, discolouration, fatty lump
  • Deformities of the foot or spine curvature


Picture of a large spinal lipoma in the lumbar spine area of a 3 year old girl.



MRI scan of the lumbar spine, showing the large lipomeningocoele.



Picture showing post-operative scar, with reduction in size of spinal lipoma (not completely excised), and a lumbar drain.



Post-operation period – child can lift up her legs and move.



Picture of a hairy patch on the back of a child (indicating spinal dysraphism and tethered cord syndrome)



MRI scan of the lumbar spine, showing the low-lying conus of the spinal cord at L4-5 level, i.e. tethered cord.



Axial MRI scan showing a split-cord malformation as the cause of the tethered cord.

2. Spinal cord tumours

Symptoms and Signs
  • Back pain or pain that spreads from the back towards the arms or legs.
  • A change in bowel habits or trouble urinating.
  • Weakness in the legs.
  • Difficulty walking


MRI scan of an intramedulary spinal cord tumour – possible astrocytoma or ependymoma



Picture showing electrodes placed within the leg muscles for nerve stimulation and monitoring during surgery for spinal cord tumour.



Picture of computer monitor screen showing waveforms of electrical activity of the various leg muscle groups during surgery of the spinal cord tumour.

Stroke Hydrocephalus Brain Tumour Arachnoid Cyst Spine Conditions (Adults) Spine Conditions (Children) Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Children




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