Transorbital sonography: A non-invasive bedside screening tool for detection of pseudotumor cerebri syndrome


BACKGROUND: Our objective was to assess optic nerve sheath diameter (a marker of elevated intracranial pressure) and optic disc elevation (a marker of papilledema) in pseudotumor cerebri syndrome using transorbital sonography.

METHODS: The study was a prospective case-control study. We included patients with new-onset pseudotumor cerebri syndrome and matched healthy controls. All had fundoscopy, lumbar puncture with opening pressure and transorbital sonography. Sonography was assessed by a blinded observer.

RESULTS: We evaluated 45 patients and included 23 cases. We recruited 35 controls. Optic nerve sheath diameter was larger in pseudotumor cerebri syndrome compared to controls (6.3 ± 0.9 mm versus 5.0 ± 0.5 mm, p < 0.001) and so was optic disc elevation (0.9 ± 0.4 mm versus 0.4 ± 0.1 mm, p < 0.001). The optimal cut-off point for optic nerve sheath diameter was 6 mm with a sensitivity of 74% for prediction of pseudotumor cerebri syndrome and 68% for prediction of elevated opening pressure. Specificity was 94%. The optimal cut-off point for optic disc elevation was 0.6 mm. Sensitivity was 100% and specificity 83% for prediction of pseudotumor cerebri syndrome.

CONCLUSION: Optic disc elevation and optic nerve sheath diameter are increased in new-onset pseudotumor cerebri syndrome. Optic disc elevation achieved high specificity and excellent sensitivity for diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri syndrome. Transorbital sonography (TOS) is a potential, non-invasive screening tool for pseudotumor cerebri syndrome in headache clinics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Issue number11-12
Pages (from-to)1116-1126
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • diagnostic imaging
  • intracranial pressure
  • optic disk
  • optic nerve
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Optic Nerve/diagnostic imaging
  • Papilledema/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri/complications
  • Ultrasonography
  • Case-Control Studies


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