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December 4, 1981

Lumbosacral Skin Lesions as Markers of Occult Spinal Dysraphism

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Hall), Neurosurgery (Dr Udvarhelyi), and Radiology (Dr Altman), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

JAMA. 1981;246(22):2606-2608. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320220056026

Early treatment of occult spinal dysraphism may prevent progressive neurological deficits. However, diagnosis is often delayed until the onset of irreversible neurological damage. A review of data from the literature and patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital suggests that lumbosacral skin abnormalities such as tufts of hair, hemangiomas, lipomas, skin tags, or pigmented nevi should alert the physician to search for occult spinal dysraphism. In the asymptomatic patient with a skin lesion, roentgenography of the lumbosacral spine is a useful screening procedure for identifying treatable underlying problems.

(JAMA 1981;246:2606-2608)