Butterfly vertebra

Assoc Prof Craig Hacking and Radswiki et al.

Butterfly vertebra is a type of vertebral anomaly that results from the failure of fusion of the lateral halves of the vertebral body because of persistent notochordal tissue between them.



Radiographic features

Plain radiograph

There is widening of the affected vertebral body. The bodies above and below the butterfly vertebra adapt to the altered intervertebral discs on either side by showing concavities along the adjacent endplates.

Some bone bridging may occur across the defect which usually happens in the thoracic or lumbar segments of the spine.

Anatomy: Spine
Inspired signs
Anatomy: Spine
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Article information

rID: 12643
Section: Signs, Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Butterfly vertebrae
  • Butterfly type vertebrae
  • Butterfly type vertebra

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: photo of a butterfly
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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4: with kyphoscoliosis
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  • Case 5: lumbarized S1 butterfly vertebra
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  • Case 6
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  • Case 7
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