Do we need to scan the whole neuraxis for coexistent abnormalities in children with surgically treated occult spinal dysraphism?

BÖRCEK A. Ö., Aslan A., UÇAR M.

ANZ JOURNAL OF SURGERY, vol.89, pp.914-918, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 89
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/ans.15164
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.914-918
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Background Spina bifida occulta (SBO) is generally known as a benign isolated entity; however, there are ambiguous approaches for neuroaxial screening in cases of symptomatic SBO among institutions. This study aims to demonstrate the infrequency of cranial anomalies associated with symptomatic SBO and inquire the necessity of cranial radiological surveillance in those patients. Methods Between 2012 and 2016 pediatric patients who were surgically treated in our clinic due to symptomatic SBO were retrospectively evaluated. All radiological findings in craniospinal evaluation were documented. Results There were 76 patients with mean age of 5.3 years (range 2 months to 17 years), and female predominance (53 female and 23 male patients). Of those, 64 patients had whole neuroaxis investigation including cranial imaging. Among 64 patients with cranial screening, only two patients had occipital encephalocele and posterior fossa arachnoid cyst. There was neither hydrocephalus nor Chiari malformation in our case series. Conclusions We detected high number of additional spinal abnormalities accompanying to symptomatic SBOs, whereas cranial findings rarely coexisted with them. Therefore, we strongly suggest the radiological screening of whole spinal axis in occult spinal dysraphism with significant spinal findings. On the other hand, cranial imaging as a part of neuraxis screening in cases of symptomatic SBOs is not required in all cases; however, it can be done in selected patients where clinically indicated.