Global Spine J 2014; 04(04): 229-232
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1387808
Original Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Lumbosacral Transitional Vertebrae and Its Prevalence in the Australian Population

Heath D. French
Department of Neurosurgery, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Arjuna J. Somasundaram
Department of Radiology, Gold Coast Hospital, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Nathan R. Schaefer
Department of Radiology, Gold Coast Hospital, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Richard W. Laherty
Department of Neurosurgery, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

05 January 2014

01 July 2014

Publication Date:
10 September 2014 (eFirst)


Study Design Retrospective cohort study.

Objective Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV) are a common congenital anomaly, and they can be accurately identified on anteroposterior (AP) radiographs of the lumbosacral spine. This study attempts to determine the prevalence of this congenital anomaly and to increase awareness among all clinicians to reduce the risk of surgical and procedural errors in patients with LSTV.

Methods A retrospective review of 5,941 AP and lateral lumbar radiographs was performed. Transitional vertebrae were identified and categorized under the Castellvi classification.

Results The prevalence of LSTV in the study population was 9.9%. Lumbarized S1 and sacralized L5 were seen in 5.8 and 4.1% of patients, respectively.

Conclusion LSTV are a common normal variant and can be a factor in spinal surgery at incorrect levels. It is essential that all clinicians are aware of this common congenital anomaly.