Pedicle screw in aorta

Case contributed by Frank Gaillard

Patient Data

Age: Adult
  • Note: This case has been tagged as "legacy" as it no longer meets image preparation and/or other case publication guidelines.

Chest x-ray


Chest radiograph obtained after spinal instrumentation. Note how the right-sided screws are all even whereas all the left-sided screws other than the top two are in a suboptimal orientation. 

CT spine


Pedicle screws are tricky things. A left-sided mid-thoracic screw misses the vertebral body and has its tip indenting the aorta. Fortunately, it was removed without significant bleeding.

Case Discussion

Noticing malalignment of pedicle screws on plain films is worthwhile, although in most instances today, CT's will be obtained following this sort of instrumentation. 

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