Child's Nervous System

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 379–384

Cervical spina bifida cystica: MRI differentiation of the subtypes in children

  • Savvas Andronikou
  • Nicky Wieselthaler
  • Anthony Graham Fieggen
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00381-005-1165-x

Cite this article as:
Andronikou, S., Wieselthaler, N. & Fieggen, A.G. Childs Nerv Syst (2006) 22: 379. doi:10.1007/s00381-005-1165-x



Cervical spinal dysraphism is a rare condition with only 37 cases reported in the literature, of which only seven patients had undergone preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


By using illustrative cases, we demonstrate the value of MRI in distinguishing the two different subtypes of cervical spinal dysraphism, namely, myelocystocele and meningocele.


Retrospective review of the MRI scans of six patients with cervical (one high thoracic) posterior cystic swellings, which were diagnosed as cervical dysraphism, was done.


Three patients were diagnosed with myelocystocele and three patients with meningocele. A comparison of MRI features between the two entities, as well as the associated anomalies, is discussed.


MRI is the imaging modality of choice for suspected cervical dysraphism, prior to surgery. It helps distinguish the subtypes, as well as identify the associated anomalies.


Cervical Spina bifida cystica Limited dorsal myeloschisis Myelocystocele Meningocele Myelomeningocele 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Savvas Andronikou
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nicky Wieselthaler
    • 1
  • Anthony Graham Fieggen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric Neuroradiology, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and School of Child and Adolescent HealthUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Division of Paediatric Neuroscience (Neurosurgery), School of Child and Adolescent HealthUniversity of Cape Town and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s HospitalCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Paediatric RadiologyRed Cross Children’s HospitalCape TownSouth Africa

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