Antenatal diagnosis of spinal lipomas

Childs Nerv Syst. 2001 Dec;17(12):697-703. doi: 10.1007/s00381-001-0525-4. Epub 2001 Nov 24.


Object: The purpose of this study was to highlight the key prenatal diagnostic features of fetal spinal lipomas.

Methods and results: All fetuses in whom a spinal lipoma was suspected prenatally or diagnosed postnatally were included in the study. Lumbosacral lipoma was diagnosed in 16 fetuses (group 1), but at birth 3 of these were found to have other forms of occult dysraphism. In 2 other fetuses (group 2) a meningocele was suspected but at birth these lesions were found to be lumbosacral lipomas. The lipomas were covering large meningoceles in 13 fetuses and filling the cul-de-sac in 2 others. Three sets of parents decided on termination. Of the 13 children born with a spinal lipoma, 9 were operated on and 4 were managed conservatively. At the last follow-up, 7 were neurologically intact.

Conclusion: The distinction between meningomyelocele and spinal lipoma is possible antenatally. The differential diagnosis between lipoma and the other forms of occult dysraphism is more difficult.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipoma / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Maternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Spina Bifida Occulta / epidemiology
  • Spina Bifida Occulta / pathology
  • Spinal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Spinal Neoplasms / pathology*