Cobb syndrome

Cobb syndrome also called cutaneous vertebral medullary angiomatosis is a metameric vascular malformation that involves all three layers (ectoderm, mesoderm and neural tissue) of the same segmental dermatome.

The importance of this syndrome is the recognition that cutaneous vascular lesions may hint at an accompanying spinal cord angioma or AVM that may result in weakness or paralysis.

Patients typically present in childhood or adolescence with sudden onset of back or lower extremity radicular pain associated with numbness that can be localised below a specific dermatome.

The classic finding on plain film is vertical striations of the vertebral body. Plain films are usually of limited value but on occasion may show bony erosion of the spinal canal involving pedicles, lamina, or foramina in addition to involvement of the vertebral body.

CT imaging may demonstrate intra-medullary or epidural hemorrhage. Plain CT with bone windows may demonstrate vertebral body erosion and assist in determining whether the lesion originates from the spinal canal or from the vertebral body. Foraminal enlargement may also suggest the presence of dilated venous structures compressing exiting nerve roots in patients with symptoms of radiculopathy.

Patients should be referred to a neurosurgeon and an interventional radiologist for embolization and decompression.

A possible complication if treatment is delayed is Foix-Alajouanine disease or subacute necrotic myelopathy due to thrombosis in the spinal angioma.

Share article

Article information

rID: 13576
Section: Syndromes
Tag: cases, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cutaneous vertebral medullary angiomatosis
  • Cobb's syndrome

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.