The Clinical Utility of Flexion-Extension Cervical Spine MRI in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

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Abstract

Background:

Our goal is to correlate the findings on flexion and extension radiographs with dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the clinical history, in a nonrandomly selected cohort of patients with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q).

Methods:

All patients with the 22q who had a dynamic MRI from January 2004 to March 2015 were included. We analyzed multiple radiographic measurements on both the dynamic plain films and the MRIs, and correlated these findings with a review of each patient’s medical record.

Results:

Multiple congenital anomalies were identified as noted in previous studies, and 61% of the patients had a failure of fusion of the anterior (n=2, 9%), posterior (n=2, 9%), or anterior and posterior arches (n=10, 43%). Quantitative measurements were impossible to report with certainty because of the upper cervical anomalies, and no cases of instability were identified using a qualitative assessment. We identified spinal cord encroachment (30%) and impingement (18%); however, none of the patients had any signal change in their spinal cord. None of these findings could be definitively correlated with any clinical symptoms. A single patient was diagnosed with a Chiari I malformation, while another had cerebellar ectopia.

Conclusions:

Although the upper cervical anomalies are extremely common in 22q, we did not identify cases of instability on dynamic plain radiographs and MRI. Although our findings do not support routine screening with flexion and extension MRI, this study may be required in patients with neurological symptoms and/or findings or abnormalities on dynamic plain radiographs.

Level of Evidence:

Level III.

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