Why would a newborn need a spinal ultrasound?

A spinal ultrasound is performed to evaluate the spinal cord of an infant. Most commonly this ultrasound is requested when babies are born with a dimple on the lower end of their spine or tail bone. The ultrasound can evaluate the location of the spinal cord and verify the closure of the vertebrae.

What does a spine ultrasound show?

Spinal ultrasound is used in diagnosing occult and non-occult spinal dysraphism (SD), evaluating spinal cord tumors and vascular malformations and in cases of birth-related trauma. SD, the most common congenital abnormality of the central nervous system, covers a spectrum of congenital disorders.

Can you see the spine on an ultrasound?

It is possible to scan the spine after three months of age but due to the ossification of the spinal processes it becomes much more difficult to image the spinal cord 1 . However, if there is delayed ossification or a defect in the vertebral column, ultrasound may still be possible even after six months.

What does sacral dimple indicate?

A sacral dimple is a congenital condition, which means your baby was born with it. A sacral dimple won’t go away. But as your child grows, it becomes less noticeable. Most sacral dimples don’t cause any problems. Sometimes, a sacral dimple can be a sign of an underlying spinal issue.

At what level does the spinal cord end in newborns?

It was found that the termination of the spinal cord varied from the first lumbar to the second sacral vertebra, with a mean level between L2 and L3. In female neonates, it was observed that the spinal cord ended at a slightly lower level (0.2 vertebra) than in males.

How long does a spinal ultrasound take?

Ultrasonography can last anywhere from under 30 minutes to up to an hour, depending on the size of the area being examined. A radiologist will review your ultrasound images and send a report to the treating physician or spine specialist who ordered the ultrasound.

Will an ultrasound scan show nerve damage?

Ultrasound can identify focal nerve enlargements (e.g., nerve tumors) and whether injured nerve severed after injury, for example, and can be useful as an initial localizing tool to guide a subsequent neuroimaging procedure.

Do all babies have a sacral dimple?

Sacral dimples are relatively common in healthy, newborn babies and do not normally signal a concern. They are seen in around 2-4 percent of births, although the cause of them is unknown. In most cases, sacral dimples are simply signs of minor abnormalities as the baby grows inside the womb.

Is a sacral dimple a birth defect?

A sacral dimple is a congenital condition, meaning it’s present at birth. There are no known causes.