European Spine Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 754–759 | Cite as

Dural ectasia in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: quantitative assessment on magnetic resonance imaging

Original Article


To our knowledge, the assessment of dural sac diameters in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is not reported in the literature. The aim of this study was to find out if, dural ectasia occurs more frequently among patients with AIS, to define cut-off values for dural sac ratio and test the validity of such values. A total of 126 spine MRIs (79 patients with AIS and 47 control subjects) were included in this retrospective analysis (age range 7–25 years, 62% were females). Dural sac diameter (DSD) and vertebral body diameter (VBD) were estimated and dural sac ratio (DSR = DSD/VBD) was calculated at T5 and L3. DSR at T5 and L3 were 0.69 ± 0.12, and 0.52 ± 0.10, respectively, in patients with AIS compared with 0.62 ± 0.11, and 0.44 ± 0.07, respectively, in controls (P = 0.001 at T5 and <0.001 at L3). Our estimated cut-off values for DSR were 0.84 and 0.58 at T5 and L3, respectively. This resulted in 100% sensitivity compared with 74% when using the cut-off values proposed by Oosterhof et al. No statistically significant association was found between the occurrence of dural sac enlargement in patients with AIS and the severity of scoliotic deformity, the apical vertebral rotation, epidural fat thickness, occurrence of pain, neurological deficit, atypical scoliosis or rapid curve progression. Females were affected more frequently than males. As dural sac enlargement means thinning of the pedicles, we believe that the findings of this study have important clinical implications on the preoperative workup of AIS.


Magnetic resonance imaging Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis Dural ectasia Dural sac ratio Cut-off values 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kasim Abul-Kasim
    • 1
  • Angelica Overgaard
    • 1
  • Acke Ohlin
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Neuroradiology, Diagnostic Centre for Imaging and Functional Medicine, Skåne University Hospital, Faculty of MedicineLund UniversityMalmöSweden
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Skåne University Hospital, Faculty of MedicineLund UniversityMalmöSweden

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