Limbus vertebra

Dr Henry Knipe and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Limbus vertebra is a well-corticated osseous density, usually of the anterosuperior vertebral body corner, that occurs secondary to herniation of the nucleus pulposus through the vertebral body endplate beneath the ring apophysis (see ossification of the vertebrae). These are closely related to Schmörl nodes and should not be confused with limbus fractures or infection.

They occur before the age of 18.

Anterior limbus vertebrae are generally asymptomatic and are detected incidentally. Posterior limbus vertebrae are far less common but have been reported to cause nerve compression.

Limbus vertebrae should be well corticated, that is they have a sclerotic margin, are triangular in shape and occupy the expected location of a normal vertebral body corner, with a smooth sclerotic subjacent corticated vertebral margin.

A limbus vertebra of the anterosuperior corner of a single vertebral body in the mid lumbar spine is the most common presentation. The anteroinferior and posteroinferior corners are seen far less frequently. Occasionally it may be seen in the thoracic spine.

Usually, radiography with or without CT or MRI is sufficient for diagnosis. Initially, the aetiology was confirmed with discography where contrast extends into the intra-osseous herniation of the nucleus pulposis.

Anatomy: Spine
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Article information

rID: 1584
Section: Anatomy
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Limbus vertebrae

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