Myelomeningocele, also known as spina bifida cystica, is a complex congenital spinal anomaly that results in spinal cord malformation (myelodysplasia).
It is one of the commonest congenital CNS anomalies and thought to occur in approximately 1:500 of live births 5. There may be a slight female predilection.
Patients present with lower limb paralysis and sensory loss, bladder and bowel dysfunction as well as cognitive impairment.
Results from failure of fusion of neural tube dorsally during embryogenesis.
There is a localized defect of the closure of caudal neuropore with persistence of neural placode (open spinal cord).
- lumbosacral: ~45%
- thoracolumbar: ~30%
- lumbar: ~20%
- cervical: ~2%
- in utero folate deficiency
- in utero teratogen exposure
- aneuploidy anomalies
- Chiari II malformation
- arachnoid cysts 1
- tethering of spinal cord
- may show evidence of an open neural tube defect with splayed or divergent posterior elements
- 1. Aaronson OS, Hernanz-schulman M, Bruner JP et-al. Myelomeningocele: prenatal evaluation--comparison between transabdominal US and MR imaging. Radiology. 2003;227 (3): 839-43. doi:10.1148/radiol.2273020535 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Unsinn KM, Geley T, Freund MC et-al. US of the spinal cord in newborns: spectrum of normal findings, variants, congenital anomalies, and acquired diseases. Radiographics. 20 (4): 923-38. Radiographics (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 3. Rufener SL, Ibrahim M, Raybaud CA et-al. Congenital spine and spinal cord malformations--self-assessment module. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2010;194 (3): S38-40. doi:10.2214/AJR.09.7204 - Pubmed citation
- 4. Lowe LH, Johanek AJ, Moore CW. Sonography of the neonatal spine: part 2, Spinal disorders. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2007;188 (3): 739-44. doi:10.2214/AJR.05.2160 - Pubmed citation
- 5. Dick EA, Patel K, Owens CM et-al. Spinal ultrasound in infants. Br J Radiol. 2002;75 (892): 384-92. Br J Radiol (full text) - Pubmed citation
Related Radiopaedia articles
Congenital spinal abnormalities
- spinal dysraphism
- Chiari malformations