International survey on the management of skin stigmata and suspected tethered cord

Penina Ponger, Liat Ben-Sira, Liana Beni-Adani, Paul Steinbok, Shlomi Constantini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: We designed a survey to investigate current international management trends of neonates with lumbar midline skin stigmata suspicious of tethered cord, among pediatric neurosurgeons, focusing on the lower risk stigmata, simple dimples, deviated gluteal folds, and discolorations. Our findings will enable physicians to assess their current diagnosis routine and aid in clarifying management controversies. Study design: A questionnaire on the proposed diagnostic evaluation of seven case reports, each accompanied by relevant imaging, was distributed by e-mail to members of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery, the European Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery, and via the PEDS server list between March and August 2008. Results: Sixty-two questionnaires, completed by experienced professionals with a rather uniform distribution of experience levels, were analyzed. Forty-eight percent do not recommend any imaging of simple dimples, 30% recommend US screening and 22% recommend MR. Seventy-nine percent recommend imaging of deviated gluteal fold with 30% recommending MR. Ninety-two percent recommend imaging infants with hemangiomas with 74% recommending MR. MR for sinus tracts is recommended by 90% if sacral and by 98% if lumber. Eighty-four percent recommend MR for filar cyst. Conclusions: Our survey demonstrates that management of low-risk skin stigmata, simple dimple, deviated gluteal fold, and discolorations lacks consensus. In addition, a significant sector of the professional community proposes a work-up of simple dimples, sacral tracts, and filar cysts that contradicts established recommendations. A simple classification system is needed to attain a better approach, enabling correct diagnosis of tethered cord without exposing neonates to unnecessary examinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1719-1725
Number of pages7
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Deviated gluteal fold
  • Filar cyst
  • Simple dimple
  • Sinus tract
  • Spinal ultrasound
  • Tethered cord syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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