Coronal vertebral cleft

Coronal vertebral cleft refers to the presence of a radiolucent vertical defect on a lateral radiograph.  

It is most often seen in premature male infants 1,3. As they can occur as part of normal variation (especially in the lower thoracic-upper lumbar spine of premature infants) they should not be necessarily interpreted as a malformation if seen in a newborn radiograph 2

However they can also be found in association with 1:

It often represents a delay in normal vertebral maturation and results from a failure of fusion of anterior and posterior ossification centres which remain separated by a cartilage plate. 

As a whole there is a predilection for the lower thoracic and lumbar vertebral bodies 1,3.

On the lateral view of the spine it may be seen as a vertical radiolucent band just behind the midportion of the body 3,4.  The affected vertebra may appear somewhat larger than those adjoining them. 

In most cases the vertebral clefts disappear by six months after birth 3

Spinal anatomy
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Article information

rID: 12831
Section: Gamuts
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Coronal clefts
  • Coronal cleft of vertebrae
  • Coronal vertebral clefts
  • Coronal cleft

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Cases and figures

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    Coronal cleft
    Case 1: in premature infant
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