Article Text

Download PDFPDF
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}


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.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.

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