Filum terminale lipoma (FTL) causes various spinal symptoms known as tethered cord syndrome. The treatment for FTL is surgical untethering by sectioning the FTL, which can prevent symptom progression and often results in improvement of symptoms. This report describes a minimally invasive surgical strategy that we have introduced for FTL sectioning. The pediatric patients with FTL since 2007 were treated using this minimally invasive surgical strategy, which we refer to as an interlaminar approach (ILA). In summary, the surgical technique involves: minimal skin incision to expose the unilateral ligamentum flavum in the lower lumbar region; ligamentum flavum incision to expose the dural sac, and dural incision followed by identification and sectioning of the filum. Postoperatively, no bed rest was required. Prior to introducing ILA, we had used standard one level laminectomy/laminotomy (LL) with more than 1 week of postsurgical bed rest until 2007, providing an adequate control group for the benefit of the ILA. A total of 49 consecutive patients were treated using ILA. While 37 patients were treated using LL. Surgical complications that need surgery were seen only in one patient, who developed cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak in LL patients. No retethering or additional neurological symptoms were seen during follow-up. All patients complained of minimal postsurgical back pain, but no patients required postoperative bed rest in ILA patients, while LL patients need postsurgical bed rest because of back pain. The ILA strategy provides the advantage of a minimal tissue injury, associated with minimal postoperative pain, blood loss, and bed rest.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology