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Ivory vertebra

Last revised by Dr Laurent Bilodeau on 15 Oct 2020

The ivory vertebra (also known as ivory vertebra sign) sign refers to the diffuse and homogeneous increase in opacity of a vertebral body that otherwise retains its size and contours, and with no change in the opacity and size of adjacent intervertebral discs.

The cause for an ivory vertebra depends on the age of the patient 1.

Rarely, the ivory vertebra can also be seen in 4:

A helpful mnemonic is LIMPH

Plain radiographs and CT will demonstrate diffuse sclerosis of the vertebral body with variable involvement of the posterior vertebral elements. 

MRI demonstrates hypointense signals within the corresponding vertebra which is directly proportional to the degree of sclerosis of the vertebral body.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: from breast cancer metastasis
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  • Case 2: lymphoma
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  •  Case 3: Ewing's sarcoma
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  • Case 4: from prostate cancer
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  • Case 5: from breast cancer
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  • Case 6: from prostate cancer
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  • Case 7: from prostate cancer
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