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July 1994

Skin Lesions of the Spinal Axis and Spinal DysraphismFifteen Cases and a Review of the Literature

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(7):740-748. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170070078015

Objective:  To catalog the paraspinal skin lesions of early childhood that are associated with occult spinal dysraphism.

Research Design:  Retrospective review of a series of patients.

Setting:  Tertiary care referral center.

Patients:  Fifteen patients who had significant paraspinal skin lesions were identified from the personal files of the authors who saw them.

Results:  The skin lesions included various combinations of hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, hypertrichosis, acrochordons, dimples, lipomas, hemangiomas, or teratomas. Not all lesions were evaluated with the same tests, which included plain roentgenography, ultrasonography, myelography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Of the 15 patients, six had spinal anomalies, eight had no apparent spinal dysraphism, and one had insufficient results of the evaluation to assess the spinal column.

Conclusions:  Early recognition of paraspinal skin lesions is essential to prevent neurologic damage. Urinary or fecal incontinence, recurrent urinary infections, muscle atrophy, foot deformities, weakness, pain, or decreased sensation in the lower extremities may eventually develop in these patients. Magnetic resonance imaging appears to be the single best screening test for dysraphism.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148:740-748)