Kaustubh Ahuja, Syed Ifthekar, Samarth Mittal, Gagandeep Yadav, P. Venkata Sudhakar, Sitanshu Barik, Pankaj Kandwal

November 2020, pp 1 - 13 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06662-7

First Online: 17 November 2020

Is detethering necessary before deformity correction in congenital scoliosis associated with tethered cord syndrome: a meta-analysis of current evidence


To compare the clinical and radiological outcomes in patients with congenital scoliosis (CS) and tethered cord syndrome (TCS) undergoing deformity correction with (NI group) versus without (NNI group) prior neurosurgical intervention aimed at detethering the cord.


A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed. The databases PubMed, Embase and Google Scholar were searched until March 2020. Inclusion criteria was studied describing performance of deformity correction and fusion surgery for congenital scoliosis with tethered cord syndrome with or without prior detethering procedure. Studies describing growth sparing procedures or congenital scoliosis associated with non-tethering pathologies such as syrinx were excluded. Case reports and series with less than 10 subjects were also excluded. NIH quality assessment tool was used for assessing quality of individual study.


Sixteen studies were included for analysis of which eight were found to be retrospective case series (level IV evidence) and retrospective case–control studies (level III evidence) each. Overall proportional meta-analysis found no significant difference in correction rate, operative duration, blood loss or complication rate between the NI and NNI groups. However, subgroup analysis performed after inclusion of only level III evidence studies revealed significantly lesser operative duration and blood loss with comparable correction and complication rate in NNI group.


Deformity correction and fusion surgery may be performed safely and effectively in CS with TCS patients without the need of a prior detethering procedure.

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