Author: Khanapurkar SV, Kulkarni DO, Bahetee BH, Vahane MI
The morphology of the spinal canal content has been studied since the invention of myelography. However, most studies have measured the diameters of the spinal cord only, not the size of the subarachnoid space. The present study complements the current data on the morphology of the spinal contents, and in particular, the spinal subarachnoid space, by analyzing MRI images. Objective: To study morphology of the dural sac, spinal cord & subarachnoid space using MRI. To define the inner geometrical dimensions of spinal canal content that confine the maneuver of an endoscope inserted in cervical spine. 3. To have comprehensive knowledge of the anatomy of cervical spinal canal. Method: Based on MRI images of the spine from 60 normal patients of age between 25-60 years, the dimensions of spinal cord, dural sac & subarachnoid space were measured at mid-vertebral & intervertebral level from C1-C7 vertebrae. The parameters measured were transverse, sagittal diameter of spinal cord & dural sac. The subarachnoid space was measured as anterior, posterior, right, left distance between spinal cord and dura mater. Results: It was found that at each selected transverse level, the subarachnoid space tends to be symmetrical on the right and left sides of the cord, and measures 3.38 mm on an average. However, the anterior and posterior segment, measured on the mid-sagittal plane are generally asymmetric & varies greatly in size ranging 1mm to 6mm with mean 2.57 of anterior & 2.59 of posterior. These measurements match those found in previous studies. The coefficient of variance for the dimensions of the subarachnoid space is as high as 36.16%, while that for the dimensions of the spinal cord (transverse & sagittal) are11.08%&13.28%respectively. Conclusion: The findings presented here, expand our knowledge of morphology of spinal canal and show that a thecaloscope must be smaller than 3.38 mm in diameter.
Keywords: Subarachnoid space, Dural sac, Spinal canal, MRI