PAEDIATRIC NEURORADIOLOGY

Neuroradiology

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 471-491

First online:

Spinal dysraphism: a review of neuroradiological features with embryological correlations and proposal for a new classification

  • P. Tortori-DonatiAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatric Neuroradiology, G. Gaslini Children's Research Hospital, Largo G. Gaslini 5, 16147 Genova, Italy e-mail: tortori@panet.it Tel.: + 39 10 5 63 66 18 Fax: + 39 10 3 77 97 98
  • , A. RossiAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatric Neuroradiology, G. Gaslini Children's Research Hospital, Largo G. Gaslini 5, 16147 Genova, Italy e-mail: tortori@panet.it Tel.: + 39 10 5 63 66 18 Fax: + 39 10 3 77 97 98
  • , A. CamaAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatric Neurosurgery, G. Gaslini Children's Research Hospital, Genova, Italy

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Abstract

Our purpose was to review the neuroradiological features of spinal dysraphism and to correlate them with clinical findings and up-to-date embryological theory. We also aimed to formulate a working classification which might prove useful in clinical practice. We reviewed series of 986 children referred to our Spina Bifida Centre in the past 24 years. There were 353 children with open spinal (OSD) and 633 with closed (skin-covered) spinal (CSD) dysraphism. By far the most common open abnormality was myelomeningocele, and all patients with OSD had a Chiari II malformation. CSD was categorised clinically, depending on the presence of a subcutaneous mass in the back. CSD with a mass mainly consisted of lipomas with dural defects and meningoceles, and accounted for 18.8 % of CSD. CSD without a mass were simple (tight filum terminale, intradural lipoma) or complex (split cord malformations, caudal regression). Our suggested classification is easy to use and to remember and takes into account clinical and MRI features; we have found it useful and reliable when making a preoperative neuroradiological diagnosis in clinical practice.

Key words Spine dysraphism Spinal cord tethered Spina bifida magnetic resonance imaging