Ivory vertrebra - from breast cancer metastasis

Case contributed by Jan Frank Gerstenmaier


This patient presented to the outpatient clinic with back pain.

Patient Data

Age: 55
Gender: Female

Chest radiograph


Previous left mastectomy and nodal clearance. Lungs and pleural spaces are clear. Heart and mediastinal countours are within normal limits.

Subtle opacity increase of T10 vertebral body.

Sclerosis within the T10 vertebral body is easier to perceive on the lateral projection. With windowing, it is more apparent on the frontal view.

Case Discussion

Osteoblastic metastasis is the most common cause for an ivory vertebra in this age group. 

Key to this case is to recognize the mastectomy, and then, after deciding that the lungs are clear, take a very hard look at the bones.

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