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Rinsho Shinkeigaku. 1996 Apr;36(4):566-70.

[A case of idiopathic spinal cord herniation].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Neurology Toneyama National Hospital.


The authors experienced a case of idiopathic spinal cord herniation with duplicated dura mater. A 63-year-old woman presented right dominant slowly progressive spastic paraplegia and dissociated sensory disturbance. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated an enlarged dorsal arachnoid space associated with an apparently focally narrowed thoracic cord. The cord was kinked towards the anterior and closely applied to vertebral body at the level of Th3-4. Computed tomographic myelography (CTM) revealed homogeneous filling at dorsal arachnoid space immediately after injection and no defects. At operation multilocular arachnoid cyst and duplicated dura mater was respectively observed dorsally, and ventrally. From defected area of the inner layer, a ventral part of the spinal cord was incarcerated between the two dural layers. After rejection of arachnoid cyst and inner layer was performed, the patient recovered neurologically. Idiopathic spinal cord herniation is a rare disease that shows slowly progressive myelopathy at middle age. The herniations were observed at ventral thoracic cord in all reported cases. The mechanism of this disease is still uncertain. But at least three successive factors seem to be necessary for formation of herniation, 1) abnormal structure of the dura mater such as defect, diverticulum and duplication; 2) adhesion between the cord and the destructive dura mater, and 3) continuous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure pushing the cord outward from subdural space. In the thoracic spine, mobility is limited compared with the cervical and lumbar spine, and because of physiological curvature the cord situates rather ventrally. For these reasons the incidence of adhesion might be higher at ventral thoracic spine. Although neuroradiological imagings especially MRI and CTM were useful, operative findings were necessary for definitive diagnosis in many reported cases. Considering the effectiveness of surgical treatment, study of the ventral side of the cord should be important to avoid misdiagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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