Continuous measurements and computation of absolute metrics of cervical subarachnoid space (CSS) and spinal cord (SC) geometries proposed are based on in vivo magnetic resonance imaging and 3D reconstruction.
The aim of the study is to offer a new methodology to continuously characterize and to quantify the detailed morphology of the CSS and the cervical SC in 3D for healthy subjects in both neutral supine and flexion.
Summary of Background Data.
To the best of our knowledge, no study provides a morphological quantification by absolute indices based on the 3D reconstruction of SC and CSS thanks to in vivo magnetic resonance imaging. Moreover, no study provides a continuous description of the geometries.
Absolute indices of SC (cross-sectional area, compression ratio, position in the canal, length) and of CSS (cross-sectional area, occupational ratio, lengths) were computed by measures from 3D semi-automatic reconstructions of high resolution in vivo magnetic resonance images (3D T2-SPACE sequence) on healthy subjects (N = 11) for two postures: supine neutral and flexion neck positions. The variability induced by the semi-automatic reconstruction and by the landmarks positioning were investigated by preliminary sensitivity analyses. Inter and intra-variability were also quantified on a randomly chosen part of our population (N = 5).
The length and cross-sectional area of SC are significantly different (P < 0.05) in flexion compared with neutral neck position. Spinal cord stays centered in the canal for both postures. However, the cross-sectional area of CSS is submitted to low variation after C3 vertebra for both postures. Occupational ratio (OR) and compression ratio (CR) after C3 are significantly lower in flexion.
This study presented interpretations of morphological measures: (1) left–right stability (described by the Left–Right eccentricity index) ensured by the denticulate ligaments and the nerve roots attached to the dural sheaths, (2) a Poisson effect of the SC was partially notified through its axial (antero-posterior [AP] diameter, OR, CR) and its longitudinal geometrical descriptions (length of spinal cord [LSC]). Such morphological data can be useful for geometrical finite element modeling and could now be used to compare with injured or symptomatic subjects.
Level of Evidence: 3