Butterfly vertebra

Case contributed by Dr Antonio Rodrigues de Aguiar Neto


The patient underwent a CT scan for workup of pain in the abdomen.

Patient Data

Age: 40 years
Gender: Male

CT scan of the abdomen reveals an incidental finding at the lumbar spine characterized by a cleft in the center of vertebral body L1, which originated the presence of two hemivertebrae, with the typical appearance of a butterfly vertebra, associated with left convex thoracolumbar transition scoliosis. Conclusion: L1 butterfly vertebra.

Case Discussion

A butterfly vertebra is a congenital incomplete fusion of the lateral halves of the vertebral body, which diagnosis is usually incidentally by medical imaging 1-3. This case illustrates the typical radiological features of a butterfly vertebra. 

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