Pleural effusion: The ‘Spine sign’

Spine sign: visualization of the vertebral bodies in the thoracic cavity above the diaphragm – indicative of pleural effusion.

In the absence of pleural effusion, the spine is obscured by air in the lung, and is cut off at the diaphragm. Because fluid is a good transmitter of sound waves, spine is seen when there is fluid around the lung.

Sometimes, pleural effusion may be noticed incidentally on abdominal scans. Below image shows transverse section of the liver with anechoic area in the posterior aspect, which corresponds to lung/pleural area; black = fluid. In such cases, go up and scan in the above mentioned coronal plane to confirm your findings.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Mirror image artefact | NephroPOCUS

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