Paediatric, Neuroradiology spine, Anatomy, Ultrasound, Education, Normal variants, Education and training, Congenital
A. R. Ventosa, H. Patricio; Algarve/PT
Ultrasonography is a valid method in the evaluation of the neonatal spine,
in appropriate clinical setting.
Since the ossification of the spinal posterior elements occurs months later,
the spinal canal content may be readily accessed through ultrasonography.
A range of normal findings,
including normal variants,
and pathologic conditions may be accurately demonstrated.
The major goal of a spinal ultrasound study in newborns is to exclude occult spinal dysraphism.
Spinal dysraphism represents a heterogeneous group of congenital abnormalities of the spine and spinal cord,
resulting from incomplete or absent fusion of midline neural,
mesenchymal and cutaneous structures during embryogenesis. This group can be categorized into open and closed types.
Open spinal dysraphisms are characterized by a defect in skin coverage,
leading to exposition of the neural tissue,
features that make it easily detectable at physical examination.
On the other hand,
in closed spinal dysraphisms,
also known as occult spinal dysraphisms,
the neural tissue is covered by skin,
which may bring some difficulties to the clinical diagnosis.
Closed spinal dysraphisms can be further classified according to the presence or absence of a subcutaneous mass.