Spinal and spinal cord malformations are collectively named spinal dysraphisms. They arise from defects occurring in the early embryological stages of gastrulation (weeks 2-3), primary neurulation (weeks 3-4), and secondary neurulation (weeks 5-6). Spinal dysraphisms are categorized into open spinal dysraphisms (OSDs), in which there is exposure of abnormal nervous tissues through a skin defect, and closed spinal dysraphisms (CSD), in which there is a continuous skin coverage to the underlying malformation. Open spinal dysraphisms basically include myelomeningocele and other rare abnormalities such as myelocele and hemimyelo(meningo)cele. Closed spinal dysraphisms are further categorized based on the association with low-back subcutaneous masses. Closed spinal dysraphisms with mass are represented by lipomyelocele, lipomyelomeningocele, meningocele, and myelocystocele. Closed spinal dysraphisms without mass comprise simple dysraphic states (tight filum terminale, filar and intradural lipomas, persistent terminal ventricle, and dermal sinuses) and complex dysraphic states. The latter category further comprises defects of midline notochordal integration (basically represented by diastematomyelia) and defects of segmental notochordal formation (represented by caudal agenesis and spinal segmental dysgenesis). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the preferred modality for imaging these complex abnormalities. The use of the aforementioned classification scheme is greatly helpful to make the diagnosis.
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Spinal cord malformations
- Spinal dysraphisms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging