PURPOSE: To analyze the outcome after untethering surgery in patients with spinal dysraphism (SD), with or without associated anorectal malformation (ARM).
METHODS: Patients operated on for SD, with (Group A) or without (Group B) associated ARM (1999-2015), were included. The post-operative outcome was analyzed in the two groups in terms of improving of clinical symptoms (neuro-motor deficits, bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction) and of instrumental examinations (urodynamics, bladder ultrasound, neurophysiology). Fisher's exact test and χ2 test were used as appropriate; p < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
MAIN RESULTS: Ten patients in Group A and 24 in Group B were consecutively treated. One patient was lost at follow up. Six patients (25%) in Group B underwent prophylactic surgery. The analysis of the pre-operative symptoms in the two groups showed that a significantly higher number of patients in group A needed bowel management and presented with neuro-motor deficits, compared to group B (p = 0.0035 and p = 0.04, respectively). Group A showed a significant post-operative neuro-motor improvement as compared to group B (p = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: Based on our results, untethering seems to be effective in neuro-motor symptoms in selected patients with ARM. In ARM patients, untethering surgery does not seem to benefit intestinal and urinary symptoms. The presence of the associated ARM does not seem to impact the medium-term outcome of patients operated for SD.