Prevalence of anatomic variations of the atlas vertebra

Juan A. Sanchis-Gimeno, Susanna Llido, Marcelino Perez-Bermejo, Shahed Nalla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND CONTEXT: The retrotransverse foramen (RTF), arcuate foramen (AF), unclosed transverse foramen (UTF) and posterior atlas arch defects (PAAD) are anatomic variations of the atlas vertebra that surgeons must be aware of before spine surgery is performed. PURPOSE: To analyze the prevalence of the AF, RTF, UTF, and PAAD. STUDY DESIGN: Ex-vivo anatomical study. PATIENT SAMPLE: Two hundred eighteen atlas vertebrae obtained from 100 Caucasian subjects and 118 sub-Saharan African subjects (48 Sotho subjects, 35 Xhosa subjects and 35 Zulu subjects). METHODS: We studied 218 atlas vertebrae from skeletons of the Raymond A. Dart Collection in order to analyze the prevalence of AF, RTF, UTF, and PAAD in both Caucasian and sub-Saharan African subjects. OUTCOME MEASURES: Not applicable. RESULTS: Sixty-nine (31.2%) atlases presented anatomical variants: 64 (29.3%) presented one anatomical variant, 4 (1.8%) presented two, and 1 (0.5%) presented three. AF, RTF, UTF, Type A and Type E defects were present in 35 (16.1%), 17 (7.8%), 17 (7.8%), 5 (2.3%), and 1 (0.5%) vertebrae, respectively. The vertebrae with two anatomical variants presented a bilateral UTF and a Type A defect, a bilateral AF and a Type A defect, a right UTF and a left AF, and a right UTF and a Type E defect. The vertebra with three anatomical variants presented a bilateral RTF, a left UTF, and a left AF. No sex differences in prevalence of the RTF (p=.775), AF (p=.605), UTF (p=.408) and Type A defects (p=1.000) were found in the sub-Saharan African and Caucasian groups (RTF, p=.306; AF, p=.346; UTF, p=.121; Type A defects, p=.561). Comparison between the sub-Saharan African (all subjects) and the Caucasian group revealed no differences in the UTF (p=.105), AF (p=.144), RTF (p=.542) and Type A defects (p=.521) prevalence. Also, no differences in the prevalence of the UTF (p=.515), AF (p=.278), and RTF (p=.857) between Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho subjects were found. Neither were found sex differences in the prevalence of UTF, RTF and AF in Zulu (p=.805, p=.234, p=.129), Xhosa (p=.269, p=.181, p=.309), and Sotho subjects (p=.062, p=.590, p=.106). CONCLUSIONS: The present study has revealed no sex differences in the prevalence of AF, UTF, RTF or PAAD in both Caucasian and sub-Saharan African subjects. This research has also indicated no differences in the prevalence of the UTF, AF and RTF between Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho subjects. In addition, this study has revealed no differences in the Type A, UTF, AF, and RTF prevalence between the sub-Saharan African (all subjects) and the Caucasian subjects. These variations may be known by surgeons before spine surgery for better planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2102-2111
Number of pages10
JournalSpine Journal
Volume18
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Anatomic variations
  • Arcuate foramen
  • Atlas
  • Posterior atlas arch defects
  • Retrotransverse foramen
  • Spine
  • Unclosed transverse foramen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Neurology (clinical)

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