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A hemivertebra is type of vertebral anomaly and results from a lack of formation of one half of a vertebral body. It can be a common cause of a congenital scoliosis / kyphosis or a lordosis


The estimated incidence is at ~ 0.3 per 1000 live births 2.


It falls under the spectrum of segmentational anomalies and can involve one or multiple levels.

A hemivertebra acts as a wedge within the vertebral column, resulting in curvature away from the side on which it is present. 


Recognised associations are many and include

This list supposed to be lot longer that this. If you know more, do add in with a relevant journal reference :)


A hemivertebra can be classified according to many types which include 

  • fully segmental (free) : 
    • not attached to either vertebra above or below
    • most concerning
  • semi segmental : half segment is fused with vertebra above or below with no intervening intervertebral disc
  • non segemental : 
    • not seperated from (i.e connected to) either level above or below
    • causes less of a concern
  • incarcerated : 
    • joined by pedicles to levels above and below
    • causes less of a concern

Radiographic features

Antenatal ultrasound

A hemivertebra may be seen as an asymmetrical vertebral body on sagittal or coronal scanning, while on axial scanning, a focal defect may be seen at either side of the vertebral column 5.

Plain film / CT

Usually directly outlines the bony anomaly and often seen as a wedge shaped vertebral body.


The prognosis can be variable dependant on the type from being a progressive to non progressive deformity. The strongest negative impact is when a hemivertebra occurs at the lumbo-sacral level 7.

Differential diagnosis

For antenatal sonographic appearances consider 

Related articles

Spinal anatomy

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