Dawson fingers

Dr Ian Bickle and Eytan Raz et al.

Dawson fingers are a radiographic feature of demyelination characterized by periventricular demyelinating plaques distributed along the axis of medullary veins, perpendicular to the body of the lateral ventricles and/or callosal junction. This is thought to reflect perivenular inflammation. They are a relatively specific sign for multiple sclerosis.

Radiographic features

  • T1: low signal in chronic lesions; otherwise usually isointense to white matter
  • T2/FLAIR: linear or ovoid high signal
  • T1C+ (Gd): enhancement can be seen with active lesions

History and etymology

Dawson fingers are named after Scottish pathologist James Walker Dawson (1870-1927 3) who described the phenomenon on histopathological specimens in an article in 1916 2, although the term "Dawson fingers" was brought forward by Charles Lumsden.

White matter disorders

Article information

rID: 1202
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Dawson's fingers

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5
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  • Case 6
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  • Case 7: DWI
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  • Case 8
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  • Case 9
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