Dural ectasia: a manifestation of type 1 neurofibromatosis
Ilyas Derdabi, Hajar El Jouadi, Meryem Edderai
The Pan African Medical Journal. 2018;31:226. doi:10.11604/pamj.2018.31.226.9797

Innovations in Measles Elimination Innovations in Measles Elimination
"Better health through knowledge sharing and information dissemination "

Case report

Dural ectasia: a manifestation of type 1 neurofibromatosis

Cite this: The Pan African Medical Journal. 2018;31:226. doi:10.11604/pamj.2018.31.226.9797

Received: 06/05/2016 - Accepted: 23/09/2017 - Published: 07/12/2018

Key words: Dural ectasia, neurofibromatosis type 1, anterior meningocele

© Ilyas Derdabi et al. The Pan African Medical Journal - ISSN 1937-8688. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Available online at: http://www.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/article/31/226/full

Corresponding author: Ilyas Derdabi, Department of Radiology, Hospital Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco (ilyasderdabi@gmail.com)

Dural ectasia: a manifestation of type 1 neurofibromatosis

Ilyas Derdabi1,&, Hajar El Jouadi1, Meryem Edderai1


1Department of Radiology, Hospital Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco



&Corresponding author
Ilyas Derdabi, Department of Radiology, Hospital Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco




Dural ectasia denotes circumferential expansion or dilatation of the dural sac, and has been frequently reported in association with type 1 neurofibromatosis (NF1). The pathogenesis has not been defined, but its correlation with NF1 infers a congenital malformative hypothesis. The neural elements in the dilated sleeve typically are not enlarged or abnormal, nevertheless the enlarged area contain an increased amount of cerebrospinal fluid. The dura in the area of ectasia is extremely thin and fragile, and erodes the surrounding bony structures destabilising the spine and permitting spectacular spinal deformities. We present a case: a 40-year-old woman suffering from neurofibromatosis type 1 who developed a thoracic dural ectasia and anterior meningocele.




Introduction    Down

Dural ectasia, which is often idiopathic, is seen both in patients with neurofibromatosis and Marfan’s syndrome. In neurofibromatosis, the ectasia is most often seen in the thoracic region as posterior mediastinal masses. We present a case of a 40-year-old woman suffering from neurofibromatosis type 1 who developed dural ectasia and anterior meningocele.



Patient and observation Up    Down

A 40 year-old woman was admitted to the hospital with low back pain. She was known of having type 1 neurofibromatosis. There was no history of trauma. The neurological examination was normal. MRI of the cervico-thoraco-lumbar spine showed an enlargement of dural sac and root sheaths, extended about 16 centimeter from D2 to D7, thus responsible of foramens enlargement and posterior vertebral scalloping (Figure 1). There was an extra-foraminal extension from D3 to D4 providing a dorsal anterior-meningocele (Figure 2). There was no abnomal medullary signal.



Discussion Up    Down

Dural ectasia, widening of the dural sac, is associated with the dystrophic changes found in type 1 neurofibromatosis and appears as dural outpouchings (meningoceles) through enlarged neuroforamina, leading to erosion of surrounding bone and displacement of adjacent organs. Up to 70% – 80% of dural ectasia is found in patients with type 1 neurofibromatosis [1], although it is also associated with Marfan syndrome (in up to 92%) [2], Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis and achondroplasia, and can occur idiopathically [3]. Meningioma and spinal nerve fibroma are associated with type 1 neurofibromatosis, and are also capable of protruding laterally through and eroding the neuroforamina.


Classic radiologic findings include erosion of the central posterior vertebral body, wedging and posterior scalloping of the vertebral body, pedicle erosion, foraminal enlargement and kyphosis. The complications of progressive vertebral body erosion include angular deformities (usually fewer than six vertebral levels) and vertebral fractures and dislocations. Neurologic deficit rarely occurs because the spinal canal is widened [4]. These deformities have been known to progress and evolve during the course of disease, a phenomenon known as “modulation [5]. Early surgical stabilization may be necessary to prevent severe deformity and late complications.



Conclusion Up    Down

Within the CNS, NF-1 manifests as a weakness of the dura, which is the tough covering of the brain and spine. Weakness of the dura leads to focal enlargement terms dural ectasia due to chronic exposure to the pressures of CSF pulsation.



Competing interests Up    Down

The authors declare no competing interests.



Authors’ contributions Up    Down

All the authors contributed to the conduct of this work. All the authors also declare to have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.



Figures Up    Down

Figure 1: sagittal (A) and axial (B) T2-weighted spin-echo magnetic resonance image of the thoracic spine showing posterior vertebral scalloping by dural ectasia

Figure 2: coronal (A) and axial (B) T2-weighted spin-echo magnetic resonance image of the dorsal spine showing anterior-meningocele D3-D4



References Up    Down

  1. Gajeski BL, Kettner NW, Awwad EE et al. Neurofibromatosis type I: clinical and imaging features of von Recklinghausen’s disease. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 Feb;26(2):116-27. PubMed | Google Scholar

  2. Fattori R, Nienaber CA, Descovich B et al. Importance of dural ectasia in phenotypic assessment of Marfan’s syndrome. Lancet. 1999 Sep 11;354(9182):910-3. PubMed | Google Scholar

  3. Toyoda K, Taguchi T, Kaneko K et al. High-grade L5 spondylolisthesis associated with dural ectasia in neurofibromatosis. J Orthop Sci. 2005;10(2):233-6. PubMed | Google Scholar

  4. de Kleuver M, van Jonbergen JPW, Langeloo DD. Asymptomatic massive dural ectasia associated with neurofibromatosis type 1 threatening spinal column support: treatment by anterior vascularized fibular graft. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2004 Dec;17(6):539-42. Google Scholar

  5. Durrani AA, Crawford AH, Chouhdry SN, Saifuddin A, Morley TR. Modulation of spinal deformities in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 Jan;25(1):69-75. PubMed | Google Scholar






























The Pan African Medical Journal articles are archived on Pubmed Central. Access PAMJ archives on PMC here

Volume 33 (May - August 2019)

Article tools

PDF (422 Kb)
Contact the corresponding author
Download to Citation Manager
Reference Manager


Dural ectasia
Neurofibromatosis type 1
Anterior meningocele

Rate this article


PAMJ is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics
PAMJ Authors services
Next abstract

PAMJ is published in collaboration with the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET)
Currently tracked by: DOAJ, AIM, Google Scholar, AJOL, EBSCO, Scopus, Embase, IC, HINARI, Global Health, PubMed Central, PubMed/Medline, Ulrichsweb, More to come . Member of COPE.

ISSN: 1937-8688. © 2019 - Pan African Medical Journal. All rights reserved