Article Text

Rare disease
The “fish-vertebra” sign
  1. Panagiotis G Ntagiopoulos1,
  2. Dimitrios Anestis Moutzouris2,
  3. S Manetas2
  1. 1
    Guy’s and St Thomas’, NHS Trust, London, SE1, UK
  2. 2
    ‘Evangelismos’ General Hospital, Athens, Athens, 11521, Greece
  1. ntagiopoulos{at}


The “fish-vertebra” sign appears as biconcave lumbar vertebrae with bone softening in lateral and posterior–anterior radiographs of the spine as an exaggeration of the normal concavity of the superior and inferior surfaces of one or more vertebral bodies. This is due to ischaemia of the central growth plate of the spine, and is typically seen in sickle cell disease.

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  • Competing interests: None.