Supernumerary lumbar ribs: A rare occurrence on an adult African male skeleton

Samson Chengetanai, Elsie K. Nchabeleng, Nicholas Bacci, Brendon K. Billings, Pedzisai Mazengenya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Supernumerary lumbar ribs are usually asymptomatic and discovered incidentally during routine diagnostic radiography. During a routine inventory of the research skeletal repository at the University of the Witwatersrand, a rare case of bilateral supernumerary ribs on the first lumbar vertebra was observed. The skeletal specimen belonged to a 70-year-old African male whose recorded cause of death was esophageal carcinoma. Plain radiography revealed bilateral joint cavities between the transverse processes of the first lumbar vertebra and the supernumerary ribs. Clinically, supernumerary lumbar ribs may present with pain of the renal angle, cause confusion during enumeration of the vertebral levels on radiographs, and may be misinterpreted as fractures, kissing osteophytes, and/or calcification of abdominal vasculature.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)155-158
Number of pages4
JournalAnatomy and Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Fracture
  • Lumbar vertebra
  • Renal angle
  • Supernumerary lumbar rib
  • Transverse process


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