Vertebromedullary malformations are a heterogeneous group of anomalies of mesenchymal and neuroectodermal tissue differentiation or closure in the midline of the back. On the basis of an embryological analysis, the authors describe the more common malformations, placing them at different times of onset and describing the pathological features and radiological findings based on the use of the most appropriate imaging techniques. The most common malformations have been divided into dysraphic and nondysraphic types and malformations affecting the vertebral bodies. The most complex malformations are detected during the antenatal period by ultrasound or foetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Conversely, during the postnatal period, when the patient's clinical conditions do not warrant emergency surgical treatment, the disorder can be better defined with a detailed MRI scan of the brain and spinal cord. In less complex dysraphisms, although MRI is the imaging modality of choice, it may be useful to integrate the study with plain radiography (X-ray) and multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) for a better assessment of the skeletal components. In these disorders, the use of imaging is aimed at both identifying malformative defects and postoperative follow-up of more complex forms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging