Scotty dog sign (spine)

The scotty dog sign refers to the normal appearance of the lumbar spine when seen on oblique radiographic projection. On oblique views, the posterior elements of vertebra form the figure of a Scotty dog with:

  • the transverse process being the nose
  • the pedicle forming the eye
  • the inferior articular facet being the front leg
  • the superior articular facet representing the ear
  • the pars interarticularis (the portion of the lamina that lies between the facets) equivalent to the neck of the dog.

If spondylolysis is present, the pars interarticularis, or the neck of the dog, will have a defect or break. It often looks as if the dog has a collar around the neck (or decapitation for those with a bloodier imagination).


Inspired signs
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Article Information

rID: 9954
Section: Signs
Tags: stub, refs, spine
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Scotty dog appearance
  • Scottie dog sign
  • Scotty dog's sign

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    Scotty dog

Obliq...
    Figure 1: scotty dog
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    L5 pars defect (o...
    Case 1: L5 pars defect
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    Figure 2
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     Case 2
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    Figure 3: Annotated Scotty dog sign
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