Learning Radiology xray montage

Vertebra Plana


General Considerations

  • Complete or near-complete loss of the entire height of a vertebral body
  • Also known as pancake vertebra
  • Causes include:
    • Eosinophilic granuloma (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis)
      • Most common in thoracic spine
      • Usually in children 2-6 years old
    • Osteoporosis
    • Trauma
    • Multiple myeloma
    • Hemangioma of vertebral body

Clinical Findings

  • Back pain

Imaging Findings

  • Flattening of the vertebral body

Differential Diagnosis

  • Collapse of a single vertebral body may be due to
    • Ewing Sarcoma
    • Aneurysmal Bone Cyst
    • Osteomyelitis
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Collapse of multiple vertebral bodies, think of
    • Mucopolysaccharidosis
    • Gaucher Disease
    • Multiple Myeloma
    • Osteogenesis imperfecta
    • Lymphoma


  • Bracing
  • Lesions may spontaneously regress in young patients


Vertebra Plana

Vertebra Plana. There is complete compression of this lower thoracic vertebral body (white arrows). This was due to osteoporosis. In a child, eosinophilic granuloma should be considered.