Spinal dysraphism is a broad term given to a group of anomalies where there are malformations in the dorsum of the embryo. Neural tube defects come under this group as well.
The neural tube is formed by the lengthwise closure of the neural plate, in the dorsum of the embryo.
The upper part of the neural tube forms the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. The lower part of the neural tube forms the spinal canal. Dysraphism results when the neural plate does not fuse completely in its lower section.
Spinal dysraphism can be broadly divided into two different pathological entities 4:
- open spinal dysraphism: occurs when the cord and its covering communicate with the outside; no skin or tissues are seen to cover the sac
- closed spinal dysraphism: occurs when the cord is covered by other normal mesenchymal elements
Associated abnormalities of mesenchymal development occur often. Hence, lipomas and/or teratomas may be associated with any type.
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Congenital spinal abnormalities
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