Transitional vertebra

Last revised by Calum Worsley on 28 Apr 2023

A transitional vertebra is one that has indeterminate characteristics and features of vertebrae from adjacent vertebral segments. They occur at the junction between spinal morphological segments:

Their importance stems both because the altered anatomy can be symptomatic (e.g. cervical rib causing thoracic outlet syndrome) or because they can lead to confusion when describing findings and thus lead to an incorrect level operation.

Radiographic features

Radiographic features vary according to the area of the spine involved. Please see the links above for examples.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: bilateral partial atlanto-occipital assimilation
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  • Case 2: lumbarized S1
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  • Case 3: sacralization of L5- Castellvi type IIa
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