Eur J Pediatr Surg 1998; 8: 31-33
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1071249
Original article

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Pre-Natal Diagnosis of Occult Spinal Dysraphism by Ultrasonography and Post-Natal Evaluation by MR Scanning

T. S. Sattar1 , Carys M. Bannister1,2 , Sarah A. Russell2 , Sylvia  Rimmer2
  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Booth Hall Children's Hospital, Charlestown Road, Manchester M2 9AA
  • 2Fetal Management Unit, St. Mary's Hospital, Heathersedge Road, Manchester, UK
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
25 March 2008 (online)


Eight children born with occult spinal dysraphism were diagnosed in utero by ultrasonography. Post-natally, they were evaluated by MR scans. The ultrasound scans in all 8 fetuses revealed a spina bifida: the spinal cord was long in 5 and in 3 a meningocele was thought to be present, however, in 1, a post-natal MR scan revealed a lipomeningocele instead of a simple meningocele. In 3 fetuses an echogenic area was seen on the ultrasound scan which raised the possibility that an intradural lipoma was present, and was confirmed by post-natal MR scans. In 3 fetuses vertebral body anomalies and an additional ossification centre in a midline bony spur together with widening of the spinal canal were seen in the lower lumbar region. The lesions in all 8 fetuses were skin-covered. None had ventriculomegaly or an Arnold-Chiari malformation.

The prognosis for fetuses with spina bifida aperta is well documented in contrast to that for those with spina bifida occulta. The ability to identify a spinal dysraphic lesion pre-natally allows a more accurate assessment to be made of the likely outcome for an individual fetus.