What is anterior wedging of the mid-thoracic vertebral body?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
The bones of the spine are called vertebrae. They have a shape that allows them to anchor the rest of the skeleton and protect the spinal cord and nearby nerves.

The vertebrae appear rectangular when viewed from the side. "Anterior wedging" means that the front edge of the rectangle is compressed (wedged). When viewed from the side, the shape looks more triangular.

The "mid-thoracic" vertebra is in the middle of the spine. It's located between the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine). It includes vertebrae in the chest and upper abdomen.

An x-ray, MRI or CT scan report might describe "anterior wedging of the mid-thoracic vertebral body." This means there is a compressed appearance of the front part of the body of the spinal bone in the middle of the spine.

The most common causes for anterior wedging of vertebrae include:
  • Osteoporosis. A weakened bone breaks (called a compression fracture), most often in the lower thoracic and lumbar spine
  • Trauma. From an accident or injury
  • Scheuermann's disease. A skeletal disease of unknown cause that most commonly affects adolescents
  • Aging. The "wear and tear" of aging may cause bone compression and wedging of vertebrae
The significance of anterior wedging of thoracic vertebrae depends on the cause, how many vertebrae are affected, whether it's new, and whether it's causing symptoms.
Harvard Medical School Arthritis: Keeping your joints healthy

More About this Book

Harvard Medical School Arthritis: Keeping your joints healthy

If you have arthritis, you can take steps to protect your joints, reduce discomfort, and improve mobility all of which are detailed in this report. Because describing your symptoms is so important...

Continue Learning about Spine

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.