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April 1, 1983

The Sclerotic Vertebral Body

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego.

JAMA. 1983;249(13):1761-1763. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330370071040

A VARIETY of disorders can produce increased radiodensity, or sclerosis, of one or more vertebral bodies. Such sclerosis can involve (1) the entire vertebral body in a uniform fashion, (2) the superior or inferior surface, or both, (3) the vertebral margins, or (4) the interior of the bone. In each instance, the resulting radiological image is distinctive and frequently allows a precise diagnosis to be offered. This communication emphasizes the radiological and gross pathological features of common disorders leading to sclerosis of the vertebral body.

Uniform Sclerosis of Vertebral Body: The 'Ivory' Vertebra  Uniformly distributed sclerosis of an entire vertebral body is termed the "ivory" vertebra1 (Fig 1). The increase in radiodensity is commonly dramatic and may involve a single vertebral body or multiple vertebral bodies. In some instances, the adjacent posterior elements of the vertebra, including the pedicles, laminae, and transverse and spinous processes, are also affected. The