Sonography for detection of spinal dermal sinus tracts

Kuang Lin Lin, Huei Shyong Wang, Ming Liang Chou, Tai Ngar Lui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. It is well known that spinal dysraphism may be complicated by meningitis as a result of infection traveling from the skin along a patent dermal sinus tract. The only clue is the lower back cutaneous lesions. Our aim was to investigate the correlation between cutaneous lesions, patent dermal sinus tracts, and spinal dysraphism and their complications. Methods. Five patients (3 female and 2 male) with spinal patent dermal sinus tracts were studied. We used a 7-MHz linear transducer with a two-dimensional real-time sonographic system to insonate and obtain transverse and longitudinal views of the spinal cord and subcutaneous area, extending from the cervical cord to the sacral areas. Subsequently, we performed spinal magnetic resonance imaging in every patient to confirm the diagnosis and to evaluate the intraspinal conditions. Results. The associated central nervous system anomalies and complications were tethered cords (n = 5), dermoid cysts (n = 3), lipoma (n = 2), central nervous system infections (n = 2), and syringomyelia (n = 1). The outcomes were better in those who received surgical intervention before they were infected. Conclusions. Early detection of spinal patent dermal sinus tracts and related anomalies was accomplished with spinal sonography and allowed for prophylactic treatment (e.g., early surgical intervention) before the onset of neurologic deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-907
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Sonography
  • Spinal dermal sinus tracts
  • Spinal dysraphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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