January 31, 2013

Limbus Vertebra

LS spine x-ray, sagittal-reformatted CT and sagittal T1W MR images demonstrate a limbus vertebra in the anterosuperior corner of L4 vertebral body in this 32-year-old woman.


  • Intrabody herniation of disc material at the margin of the endplate, occurs during spinal growth before skeletal maturity
  • Herniation of nuclear material through the cartilaginous junction zone of ring apophysis may isolate this ossification center from the body margin, inhibiting osseous fusion to the vertebral body
  • Up to 5% of cadavers
  • Generally asymptomatic
  • Smoothly corticated triangular fragment of bone at the corner of the vertebral body
  • Most common in midlumbar spine (L2-4) but can be at any level including cervical spine
  • Most common at the anterosuperior corner of the vertebral body
  • Typically displaced farther from margin of vertebral body

Ghelman B, Freiberger RH. The limbus vertebra: an anterior disc hernation demonstrated by discography. AJR 1976; 127:854-855

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