The central nervous system – the brain and spinal column – are surrounded by fluid contained in a membrane called the dura, which is primarily made up of connective tissue. The enlargement of this membrane is referred to as “dural ectasia.” Dural ectasia also includes perineural cysts and meningocele cysts.
Dural ectasia is present in more than 60 percent of people affected with Marfan syndrome. Research suggests that the presence of dural ectasia does not always cause problems, although it sometimes causes back, abdominal and leg pain and headaches in some affected persons.
Dural ectasia is best identified through MRI imaging, particularly of the lower spine with a person standing upright. A mylogram, CT scan, or plain spinal films might also reveal the presence of dural ectasia.
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