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Banner cloud sign: a novel method for the diagnosis of dural ossification in patients with thoracic ossification of the ligamentum flavum



Dural ossification (DO) is common in patients with ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF) and is the leading cause of dural tears. However, the methods used for DO diagnosis are limited. The purpose of this study was to propose a novel CT-based imaging sign, Banner cloud sign (BCs), and clarify its clinical characteristics and correlations with DO.


57 OLF patients who underwent thoracic spine decompression surgery in our single-center between January- and October-2018 were recruited and divided into two groups based on the presence of DO. Patient demographics and radiographic data were analyzed. Hematoxylin–eosin staining and micro-CT were used to detect the micro-morphological changes of DO. The diagnostic value of BCs for DO was assessed by sensitivity and specificity.


12 patients with a total of 19 segments were diagnosed as DO. The incidence of DO was 21.1% (12/57) in OLF patients and 9.5% (19/200) in OLF segments. Patients with DO had a shorter disease duration and a higher incidence of cerebrospinal fluid leakage than those without DO. Hematoxylin–eosin staining and micro-CT showed that the dura mater was ossified and fused with ossified ligamentum flavum, and diffusion along the dura mater, like a banner cloud flying on the mountain. The sensitivity and specificity of BCs in DO diagnosis were 78.9 and 90.6%, respectively.


BCs can vividly and intuitively describe the imaging features of DO and has high diagnostic accuracy. It could be a promising and valuable method for the diagnosis of DO.

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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (82072479, 81772381, 81874031).

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Correspondence to Chuiguo Sun.

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The authors report no conflicts of interest concerning the materials or methods used or the findings in this study.

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Chen, G., Chen, Z., Li, W. et al. Banner cloud sign: a novel method for the diagnosis of dural ossification in patients with thoracic ossification of the ligamentum flavum. Eur Spine J 31, 1719–1727 (2022).

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  • Ossification of the ligamentum flavum
  • Dural ossification
  • Thoracic spine
  • Myelopathy
  • Diagnosis accuracy