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Persistent notochordal canal imitating compression fracture – plain film, CT and MR appearance

Robert Chrzan, Lilianna Podsiadlo, Izabela Herman-Sucharska, Andrzej Urbanik, Amira Bryll

Med Sci Monit 2010; 16(6): CS76-79

ID: 880599

Available online: 2010-06-01

Published: 2010-06-01

Background:    Persistent notochordal canal is a rare developmental anomaly, typically restricted to 1 or 2 vertebral levels, and only in exceptional cases extending over a longer segment. It is usually asymptomatic and discovered incidentally.
    Case Report:    A 30-year-old woman reported to our department for control lumbar spine plain films. About 2 years before, after minor trauma, she had been misdiagnosed on radiograms in another hospital as having a compression L5 vertebra fracture.
        The assessment of current plain films and analysis of previous radiograms delivered indicated the need for taking a developmental anomaly into consideration.
        Based on CT and MR of lumbar spine performed, a final diagnosis of a persistent notochordal canal was established.
    Conclusions:    In spite of its rare occurrence, the characteristic features of a persistent notochordal canal should be known by radiologists, particularly to avoid misinterpretation in post-traumatic patients.

Keywords: Notochord - pathology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging - methods, Lumbar Vertebrae - pathology, Fractures, Compression - radiography, Diagnosis, Differential, Adult, Radiology - methods, Tomography, X-Ray Computed - methods