coronal vertebral cleft

Coronal vertebral clefts refer to the presence of radiolucent vertical defects on a lateral radiograph.

Epidemiology

It is most often seen in premature male infants . As they can occur as part of normal variation (especially in the lower thoracic-upper lumbar spine of premature infants) they should not be necessarily interpreted as a malformation if seen in a newborn radiograph .

However, they can also be found in association with :

Pathology

It often represents a delay in normal vertebral maturation and results from a failure of fusion of anterior and posterior ossification centers which remain separated by a cartilage plate.

Location

As a whole, there is a predilection for the lower thoracic and lumbar vertebral bodies .

Radiographic features

Plain radiograph

On the lateral view of the spine, it may be seen as a vertical radiolucent band just behind the midportion of the body .  The affected vertebra may appear somewhat larger than those adjoining them.

Treatment and prognosis

In most cases, the vertebral clefts disappear by six months after birth .