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Efface is a term frequently used by radiologists, most often in the context of CSF-containing spaces in the brain (sulci and ventricles). Unfortunately, it is often used incorrectly.
The word efface, in general English usage, means to cause something to fade or disappear 1,2.
In the context of radiology it should be taken to mean that a space or cavity has been obliterated by the external application of mass effect.
For example, a brain tumor exerting mass effect on the adjacent brain may efface the adjacent cerebral sulci or ventricles. This implies that no CSF remains in those spaces. If there is incomplete obliteration of the space then one can use the term 'partial effacement'.
It is important to note that intrinsic obliteration, for example in the setting of congenital asymmetry of the ventricles, is not effacement.
- 1. Dictionaries O. Pocket Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. (2013) ISBN:0199666156. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. Merriam Webster Online Dictionary Read it online