Q. What could a cleft-like appearance of the thoracic vertebra in a newborn be?

Answered by
Dr. Lokesh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 24, 2017

Hello doctor,

My daughter is one day old and on an X-ray, it is showing a cleft-like appearance on the T12 vertebra. The hospital is telling us to follow up with an orthopedic. My question is what can this mean now and in the future?



Welcome to

The cleft can be just superficial or deep going up to the spinal cord.

If it is superficial then it will not be of a major concern.

If its deep then there can be tethering of the spinal cord or bifid cord which can lead to neurological disorders of the lower limbs as the child grows.

This can be seen very well on ultrasonography done by an experienced sonologist which will give more information when compared to an X-ray. So the sonography needs to be done which is a safe and easy procedure.

Sonography of the entire spine is the next step.

This is only a second opinion platform. This professional advice provided by me stands subject to the actual examination of report or image and is based entirely on inputs provided to me. It should be correlated with clinical findings.

For more information consult a spine health specialist online -->

Thank you doctor,

Is it a good sign that right now she is moving her legs a lot? Also, if it is deep, will surgery or anything of that sort be able to fix this?



Welcome back to

Moving the legs now is fine which is irrelevant to the prognosis.

Yes, there are many malformations which can be cured with surgery but some like spinal cord involvement which can cause bladder problem is difficult to treat with surgery.

It is a whole spectrum of disorder which can take place so to know exactly what is the extent of involvement, a sonography has to be done after which the treatment can be exactly specified.

Without sonography, it is just too difficult to say anything.

For more information consult a spine health specialist online -->

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