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HomeAnswersSpine healthspina bifidaThe X-ray reveals a cleft on the T12 vertebra. What is it?

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

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At December 24, 2017
Reviewed AtFebruary 14, 2024

Patient's Query

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 icliniq.com.

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.

Patient's Query

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 icliniq.com.

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.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Sharoff Lokesh Mohan
Dr. Sharoff Lokesh Mohan

Orthopedician and Traumatology

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