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Limbus vertebra - anteroinferior corner

Case contributed by Dr Ahmed Abdelrahman


Lower back pain. The patient had history of trauma 6 months ago.

Patient Data

Age: 45 years
Gender: Male

Lumbosacral spine

A well-corticated triangular-shaped bone fragment noted at the anteroinferior corner of L2 vertebra, which represents anteroinferior limbus vertebra.

Another finding here is the pars defect at L5 with first-degree anterolisthesis of L5 over S1 vertebra.

Case Discussion

Limbus vertebra is a bony fragment that usually occurs at the anterosuperior margin of the lumbar vertebrae. The inferior and posterior margins are less commonly affected. It results from an old injury in the immature skeleton, resulting in herniation of the nucleus pulposus through the ring apophysis before fusion, separating a small segment from the vertebral rim.

Anterior limbus vertebra is usually asymptomatic. It is an incidental finding and typically not the cause of the pain. Thus, it needs no treatment. Limbus vertebra could be mistaken for a fracture, diskitis, Schmorl’s node, or tumor.  This is most likely to occur when a patient presents with back pain, especially after trauma. 

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Case information

rID: 72636
Published: 8th Dec 2019
Last edited: 20th Dec 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included
Institution: National guard hospital

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