Background: A heterotopic dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is sometimes observed in the vicinity of dysplastic neural structures during surgery for open spinal dysraphism; however, it is rarely associated with closed spinal dysraphism. Distinguish from neoplasms by preoperative imaging study is difficult. Although the embryopathogenesis of a heterotopic DRG has been speculated to be migration disorder of neural crest cells from primary neural tube, its details remain unelucidated. Case Description: We report a pediatric case with an ectopic DRG in cauda equina associated with a fatty terminal filum and bifid sacrum. The DRG mimicked a schwannoma in the cauda equina on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging. Laminotomy at L3 revealed that the tumor was entangled in the nerve roots, and small parts of the tumor were resected for biopsy. Histopathologically, the tumor consisted of ganglion cells and peripheral nerve fibers. Ki-67 immunopositive cells were observed at the periphery of the ganglion cells. These findings indicate the tumor comprised DRG tissue. Conclusion: We report detailed neuroradiological, intraoperative and histological findings and discuss the embryopathogenesis of the ectopic DRG. One should be aware of the possibility of ectopic or heterotopic DRGs when cauda equina tumors are observed in pediatric patients with neurulation disorders.
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