Spine: Neonatal and Infant Spine

  • Alka Karnik


Spinal ultrasound (SUS) is a safe, non-invasive, highly sensitive imaging modality for evaluating intraspinal contents in neonates and infants younger than 4 months, with a diagnostic sensitivity equal to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (Dick et al., Br J Radiol 75:384–92, 2002). It is widely used as a first-line screening tool to look for spinal dysraphism (SD) in babies with lumbar cutaneous stigmata and skin-covered masses and in SD-associated syndromes. Lack of ossification of the spinal posterior elements allows beam penetration with excellent delineation of the terminal cord, conus and the cauda equina, thus helping in imaging of cord abnormalities in SD like meningocoele, myelocoele, lipomeningomyelocoele, diastematomyelia and syringomyelia and in looking for tethered cord and intradural masses. This chapter aims to briefly cover normal and abnormal spinal development and indications and techniques of spinal sonography, normal anatomy, imaging pitfalls, and variations that may simulate spinal disorders as well as several commonly seen disorders.


Neonatal imaging Spinal sonography Spinal dysraphism Myelomeningocoele Lipomeningomyelocoele Diastematomyelia Tethered cord 



Figures 12.11, 12.13, 12.14 and 12.15 reproduced with permission from Ultrasound Examination of Paediatric Musculoskeletal Diseases and Neonatal Spine. Karnik AS, Karnik A, Joshi A. Indian J Pediatr. 2016 Jun; 83(6):565–77. doi: 10.1007/s12098-015-1957-2. Epub 2016 Feb 1.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alka Karnik
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanavati Super Speciality HospitalMumbaiIndia

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