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Diastematomyelia is a congenital abnormality that is also known as split cord malformation. It is a type of spinal dysraphism characterized by a longitudinal split in the spinal cord.

Symptoms of Diastematomyelia

The presentation of symptoms depends upon the severity of the condition. The patients with mild type II are minimally affected and remain asymptomatic while others may show following symptoms:

  • Stigmata or having cutaneous lesions like subcutaneous mass, dimples, hairy patches etc.
  • Leg weakness
  • Pain in lower back
  • Scoliosis or curve in spine
  • Bladder and bowel incontinence

Associated anomalies with Diastematomyelia

Most of the patients of Diastematomyelia also have following associated anomalies:

  • Meningocele
  • Neurenteric cyst
  • Dermoid
  • Clubfoot
  • Spinal cord lipoma
  • Haemangioma overlying spine

Classification of Diastematomyelia

Diastematomyelia can be of following two types depending upon the presence of a dividing septum and single vs dual dural sac:

  • Type I or classic Diastematomyelia characterized by:
    • Duplicated dural sac
    • Common midline spur
    • Usually symptomatic
  • Type Diastematomyelia II (milder form) characterized by:
    • single dural sac containing both hemi cords
    • Less marked impairment
    • Almost asymptomatic


Diagnosis of Diastematomyelia is usually done during prenatal ultrasound and may require following diagnostic tests for confirmation:

  • X-Ray
  • Antenatal ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Diastematomyelia treatment

Asymptomatic patients generally do not need any treatment but regular neurological assessment and routine check-ups are required to track if the condition deteriorates or not.

On the other side, patients that show signs and symptoms of the problem need immediate surgical intervention to avoid deterioration and worsening of the problem. The type of surgery depends on the manifestation of the problem. In most of the cases, decompression surgery is performed to remove the bony spur and repair the dural sac.

Authored by Dr. Shyam Sundar K

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Dr. Shyam Sundar K

Dr. Shyam Sundar K is an eminent name in the field of neurology. He is one of the best neurosurgeon in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

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