Trident sign (osmotic demyelination)

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Ian Bickle et al.

The trident sign describes the typical appearances of the pons in osmotic demyelination syndrome, whereby the symmetrical high T2/FLAIR signal abnormality centrally in the pons is shaped like a trident, the three-pronged spear of classical Greece 1. The predominant involvement of the transverse pontine fibers and relative sparing of the descending corticospinal tracts is responsible for this characteristic ‘trident’ shaped appearance (omega sign) 2.

History and etymology

The trident is a three-pronged lance employed for spearing fish, and in Classical mythology was the weapon born by sea gods, such as the sea god Poseidon in Ancient Greece (or Neptune, the classical Roman equivalent). Although a similar weapon, the trishoola, with rounded tines, is also seen being carried in images of Hindu gods, e.g. Shiva and Durga 1,3.

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Article information

rID: 58212
Section: Signs
Tag: stub, stub
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Trident shaped appearances (CNS)

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: the trident sword
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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • increased "triden...
    Case 3
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