Spinal dysraphism: MR imaging rationale

A. Rossi, A. Cama, G. Piatelli, M. Ravegnani, R. Biancheri, P. Tortori-Donati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Spinal cord development occurs through the three consecutive periods of gastrulation (weeks 2-3), primary neurulation (weeks 3-4), and secondary neurulation (weeks 5-6). Spinal cord malformations derive from defects in these early embryonic stages, and are collectively called spinal dysraphisms. Spinal dysraphisms may be categorized clinically into open and closed, based on whether the abnormal nervous tissue is exposed to the environment or covered by skin. Open spinal dysraphisms include myelomeningocele and other rare abnormalities such as myelocele, hemimyelomeningocele, and hemimyelocele, and are always associated with a Chiari II malformation. Closed spinal dysraphisms are further divided into two subsets based on whether a subcutaneous mass is present in the low back. Closed spinal dysraphisms with mass comprise 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 involves abnormal notochordal development, either in the form of failed midline integration (ranging from complete dorsal enteric fistula to neurenteric cysts and diastematomyelia) or of segmental agenesis (caudal agenesis and spinal segmental dysgenesis). Magnetic resonance imaging is the imaging modality of choice for evaluation of this complex group of disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-24
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Neuroradiology
Volume31
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

Keywords

  • Dysraphism
  • MR imaging
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

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