The accuracy of abnormal lumbar sonography findings in detecting occult spinal dysraphism: A comparison with magnetic resonance imaging - Clinical article

Joshua J. Chern, Baran Aksut, Jennifer L. Kirkman, Mohammadali Mohajel Shoja, R. Shane Tubbs, Stuart A. Royal, John C. Wellons, Curtis J. Rozzelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Object. The purpose of this study was to correlate lumbar ultrasound (LUS) and MRI findings in patients suspected of having occult spinal dysraphism (OSD). Methods. Over a 5-year period, 1273 consecutive infants underwent an LUS study at a major pediatric tertiary referral center. Of these, 106 patients had abnormal LUS findings suggestive of an OSD, and 103 underwent subsequent MRI studies. The anatomical descriptions of the 2 studies were compared for agreement. Results. The average age of the infants was 34 days at the time of the LUS study; OSD was suspected in these patients because of the presence of cutaneous stigmata and congenital defects. The most common anatomical descriptions from the LUS study included a thickened or fatty filum (32 cases), filum cyst (11 cases), and presence of a terminal ventricle or syrinx (9 cases). Using MRI findings as the standard reference, the sensitivity of LUS in detecting a thickened or fatty filum was 20%. The sensitivity of detecting an abnormal conus level at or below L-3 was 76.9%. Conclusions. In the patient population chosen to undergo LUS studies, abnormal findings had poor sensitivity at detecting anatomical findings consistent with OSD..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-153
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Occult spinal dysraphism
  • Spine
  • Tight filum
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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