Article Abstract

Spinal arachnoid web—a review article

Authors: Haitham Ben Ali, Preci Hamilton, Stefan Zygmunt, Kamal Makram Yakoub


The spinal arachnoid web is an abnormal formation of an arachnoid membrane in the subarachnoid space. It is a rare entity with some degree of uncertainty surrounding its etiology. It can result in a displacement of the spinal cord causing pain and neurological symptoms as well as blockage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow and subsequent syringomyelia. The syrinx resulting from the altered CSF flow dynamics has been described to assume variable positions relative to the web itself. The “scalpel sign” is regarded as a pathognomonic feature of a spinal arachnoid web. The arachnoid web, however, is relatively thin and may be elusive of routine radiological investigations. As such, a myriad of preoperative and intraoperative investigations have been postulated to improve the sensitivity of detecting this abnormality. Management of spinal arachnoid webs ranges from conservative management to surgical excision where in the latter, the extent of excision remains the subject of debate. The authors herein present a review of the available information on this rare topic.