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:
- skeletal dysplasia(s)
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.
- 1. Gamuts in Radiology, Reeder and Felson’s. Fourth edition.
- 2. Tanaka T, Uhthoff HK. Coronal cleft of vertebrae, a variant of normal enchondral ossification. Acta Orthop Scand. 1983;54 (3): 389-95. - Pubmed citation
- 3. Kumar R, Guinto FC, Madewell JE et-al. The vertebral body: radiographic configurations in various congenital and acquired disorders. Radiographics. 1988;8 (3): 455-85. Radiographics (abstract) - Pubmed citation
- 4. Fawcitt J. Some radiological aspects of congenital anomalies of the spine in childhood and infancy. Proc. R. Soc. Med. 1959;52 (5): 331-3. - Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation
- spinal canal
- cervical spine
- thoracic spine
- lumbar spine
- vertebral body
- neural arch
- transitional vertebrae
- ossification centres
- intervertebral disc
- anterior longitudinal ligament
- posterior longitudinal ligament
- posterior ligamentous complex
- cervical spine ligaments
- iliolumbar ligament
- musculature of the vertebral column
- muscles of the neck
- muscles of the back
- gross anatomy
white matter tracts
- anterolateral columns
- lateral columns
- dorsal columns
- gray matter
- nerve root
- spinal meninges and spaces
- functional anatomy
- spinal cord blood supply