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Syrinx reduction due to spontaneous spinal cord tear: demonstration on 3 T MRI and review of the literature
  1. Serena Staglianó1,
  2. Elena Prodi1,
  3. Barbara Goeggel Simonetti2,3 and
  4. Alessandro Cianfoni1,4
  1. 1Neuroradiology, Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Ospedale Regionale Lugano, Neurocentre of Southern Switzerland, Lugano, Switzerland
  2. 2Department of Neurology, University Hospital Bern, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  3. 3Institute of Paediatrics of Southern Switzerland, IPSI, EOC Ospedale San Giovanni Bellinzona, Bellinzona, Switzerland
  4. 4Department of Neuroradiology, Inselspital University Hospital Bern, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alessandro Cianfoni; alessandro.cianfoni{at}


A holocord syringomyelia due to Chiari 1.5 malformation (CM) in a 12-year-old girl was serially imaged with 3 T MRI over 4 years. The serial MRI showed reduction in size of the syrinx, without any surgical intervention or CM improvement, but rather due to spontaneous spinal cord tear. The tear was clearly demonstrated by evidence of flow signal across the tear between syrinx and subarachnoid space at the upper thoracic level. The tear showed spontaneous closure at follow-up. A medullary tear has been described in the adult population as one of the putative causes of spontaneous syringomyelia reduction, but its clear demonstration with modern high-resolution MRI has not been reported in the paediatric population. Moreover, this is the first reported case of syrinx reduction due to spontaneous fissuration in a paediatric patient.

  • neuroimaging
  • spinal cord
  • congenital disorders
  • neurosurgery

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  • Contributors Analysis and interpretation: SS and EP. Data collection: SS. Writing the article: SS and AC. Critical revision of the article: EP, BGS and AC. Final approval of the article: AC and BGS. Over all responsability: SS.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.