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Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D.
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Part of the spinal dysraphism complex. Is a congenital longitudinal split of the spinal cord or filum terminale. The etiology unclear, and perhaps it is an attempted spinal canal duplication. Can be associated with intraspinal neuroenteric cysts, dermoid cysts, teratomas, and lipomas. It is the cause of 5% of congenital scoliosis.
The cord is widened and split into 2 lateral halves between which lies the longitudinal septum composed of fibrous tissue and / or cartilage and / or a small spicule of bone. The dividing septum is attached anteriorly to the ventral wall of the spinal canal and posteriorly to the dura and can extend for several vertebral bodies. The septum fixes the spinal cord at the involved level so the cord cannot make its normal shift cephalad as the vertebral column lengthens. Can extend for several vertebral bodies. The cord usually is divided asymmetrically and then reunites below the cleft.
CT defines the nature of the spicule, whether it is bony or not.
See References Chapter.
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