Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 93:F451-F454 doi:10.1136/adc.2007.129221
  • Short report

Ultrasonographic determination of neonatal spinal canal depth

  1. O J Arthurs1,
  2. M Murray2,
  3. M Zubier2,
  4. J Tooley3,
  5. W Kelsall2
  1. 1
    Department of Radiology, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2
    Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3
    Department of Child Health, St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, UK
  1. Dr W Kelsall, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Box 226, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK; Wilf.kelsall{at}
  • Accepted 24 January 2008
  • Published Online First 19 February 2008


Objective: To determine by ultrasound (US) the spinal canal depth (SCD) in neonates and subsequently establish a nomogram and simple formula for calculating this distance.

Design: 116 US measurements were performed by two investigators in 105 neonates at the L3/4 intervertebral space. Both anterior and posterior spinal canal depth were measured and mid-spinal canal depth (MSCD) calculated. Measurements of intra- and interobserver variability were also performed.

Results: A clear relationship was found between body weight (W, kg) and all SCD measurements in neonates. In particular, MSCD  =  2.2W + 6.89 mm (R2 correlation coefficient 0.76), approximated by 2W + 7 mm.

Conclusion: SCD measurements are easily determined by US in neonates, with good correlation between weight and MSCD.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Approved by the local Research and Ethics Committee.

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