The Decreasing Prevalence of the Arcuate Foramen

Juan A. Sanchis-Gimeno, Susanna Llido, Marcos Miquel-Feutch, Laura Quiles-Guinau, Luis Rios, Mayte Murillo-Llorente, Marcelino Perez-Bermejo, Shahed Nalla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background The arcuate foramen (AF), or ponticulus posticus, is an anatomic variant of the first cervical vertebra that consists of a complete or partial osseous bridge over the groove for the vertebral artery and extends from the posterior aspect of the superior articular facet to the superior lateral border of the posterior arch. The AF has been associated with clinical symptoms, such as headache, migraine, neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, and vertebral artery dissection. We aimed to test whether the prevalence of the AF has decreased in the modern human population over the past centuries as a result of reduction in inbreeding and endogamy. Methods Possible reduction in the prevalence of the AF was assessed by comparing a 17th century rural sample (n = 108) with a 20th century modern urban sample (n = 192). Results When comparing the 17th and the 20th century samples, we found a statistically significant (P = 0.003) reduction of 14.5% (95% confidence interval 4.5–24.5) in the prevalence of the AF. Conclusions Prevalence of the AF has been decreasing over the past centuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-525
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Anatomy
  • Cervical atlas
  • Risk factors
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Spine
  • Vertebral artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology (clinical)


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