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Concept: Inion


Recently we reported the development of prominent exostosis young adults' skulls (41%; 10-31 mm) emanating from the external occipital protuberance (EOP). These findings contrast existing reports that large enthesophytes are not seen in young adults. Here we show that a combination sex, the degree of forward head protraction (FHP) and age predicted the presence of enlarged EOP (EEOP) (n = 1200, age 18-86). While being a male and increased FHP had a positive effect on prominent exostosis, paradoxically, increase in age was linked to a decrease in enthesophyte size. Our latter findings provide a conundrum, as the frequency and severity of degenerative skeletal features in humans are associated typically with aging. Our findings and the literature provide evidence that mechanical load plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of the enthesis (insertion) and draws a direct link between aberrant loading of the enthesis and related pathologies. We hypothesize EEOP may be linked to sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets. Our findings raise a concern about the future musculoskeletal health of the young adult population and reinforce the need for prevention intervention through posture improvement education.

Concepts: Biology, Prediction, Future, Occipital bone, Bones of the head and neck, Inion, Squama occipitalis, External occipital protuberance


Enthesophytes are bony projections that arise from the sites of ligament, tendon or joint capsule attachment to a bone. They are seen rarely in radiographic findings in young adults, as these bony adaptations are assumed to develop slowly over time. However, in recent years, the presence of an enlarged external occipital protuberance (EEOP) has been observed frequently in radiographs of relatively young patients at the clinic of the lead author. Accordingly, the aim of this project was to assess the prevalence of an EEOP in a young adult population. Analysis involved a retrospective analysis of 218 lateral cervical radiographic studies of 18-30-year-old participants. Group A (n = 108; males = 45, females = 63) consisted of asymptomatic university students, while Group B (n = 110; males = 50, females = 60) were an age-matched mildly symptomatic, non-student population. The external occipital protuberance (EOP) size was defined as the distance from the most superior point of the EOP (origin) to a point on the EOP that is most distal from the skull. To avoid ambiguity, the threshold for recording the size of an EOP was set at 5 mm, and an EOP was classified as enlarged if it exceeded 10 mm. Reliability testing was also undertaken. Results indicated that an EEOP was present in 41% of the total population, with 10% of all participants presenting with an EOP ≥ 20 mm. An EEOP was significantly more common in males (67.4%) than in females (20.3%), with the mean EEOP size for the combined male population (15 ± 7 mm) being significantly larger (P < 0.001) than for females (10 ± 4 mm). The longest EEOP in the male population was 35.7 mm, while in the female population it was 25.5 mm. Additionally, the mean EEOP size for Group A (14 ± 7 mm) was also significantly greater (P = 0.006) than that recorded for Group B (12 ± 6 mm). This study identified that an EEOP is a condition that is prevalent in the populations tested. The age of the populations, and the prevalence of EEOP, suggest that biomechanical drivers for this phenomenon may be the main reason for this condition in these populations.

Concepts: Male, Female, Gender, Sex, Skull, World population, Adaptation, Inion


The literature implies that large enthesophytes are exclusive to genetically predisposed individuals and to Spondyloarthropathies sufferers. Accordingly, the aim of this investigation and report was to assess the involvement of genetic predisposition, inflammatory and/or mechanical influences in the development of large enthesophytes in a sample population of teenagers presenting with large enthesophytes emanating from the external occipital protuberance.

Concepts: Sample, Genetics, Sampling, Educational psychology, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, Bones of the head and neck, Inion


This study aimed to provide topographic information of the greater occipital (GON) and third occipital (3ON) nerves, with the three-dimensional locations of their emerging points on the back muscles (60 sides, 30 cadavers) and their spatial relationship with muscle layers, using a 3D digitizer (Microscribe G2X, Immersion Corp, San Jose CA, USA). With reference to the external occipital protuberance (EOP), GON pierced the trapezius at a point 22.6 ± 7.4 mm lateral and 16.3 ± 5.9 mm inferior and the semispinalis capitis (SSC) at a point 13.1 ± 6.0 mm lateral and 27.7 ± 9.9 mm inferior. With the same reference, 3ON pierced, the trapezius at a point 12.9 ± 9.3 mm lateral and 44.2 ± 21.4 mm inferior, the splenius capitis at a point 10.0 ± 5.3 mm lateral and 59.2 ± 19.8 mm inferior, and SSC at a point 11.5 ± 9.9 mm lateral and 61.4 ± 15.3 mm inferior. Additionally, GON arose, winding up the obliquus capitis inferior, with the winding point located 52.3 ± 11.7 mm inferior to EOP and 30.2 ± 8.9 mm lateral to the midsagittal line. Knowing the course of GON and 3ON, from their emergence between vertebrae to the subcutaneous layer, is necessary for reliable nerve detection and precise analgesic injections. Moreover, stereotactic measurement using the 3D digitizer seems useful and accurate for neurovascular structure study.

Concepts: Nervous system, Muscle, Dimension, Nerve, Topography, Bones of the head and neck, Semispinalis capitis, Inion


This paper proposes a method for the quantification of the shape of sexually dimorphic cranial traits, namely the glabella, mastoid process and external occipital protuberance.

Concepts: Scientific method, Sexual dimorphism, Sex, Bones of the head and neck, Mastoiditis, Inion, Mastoid process, External occipital protuberance


By using the line between the lowest point of the mastoid process and the external occipital protuberance as landmarks, to locate the projection of the transverse-sigmoid sinus (TSS) on the skull surface using three-dimensional reconstruction technique, to provide morphological basis for avoiding TSS injuries during surgeries.

Concepts: Skull, Analytic geometry, Bones of the head and neck, Inion


Chronic postoperative neuralgias and headache following retrosigmoid craniotomy can be uncomfortable for the patient. We aimed to better elucidate the regional nerve anatomy in an effort to minimize this postoperative complication. Ten adult cadaveric heads (20 sides) were dissected to observe the relationship between the lesser occipital nerve and a traditional linear versus modified U incision during retrosigmoid craniotomy. Additionally, the relationship between these incisions and the occipital artery were observed. The lesser occipital nerve was found to have two types of course. Type I nerves (60%) remained close to the posterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle and some crossed anteriorly over the sternocleidomastoid muscle near the mastoid process. Type II nerves (40%) left the posterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle and swung medially (up to 4.5cm posterior to the posterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle) as they ascended over the occiput. The lesser occipital nerve was near a midpoint of a line between the external occipital protuberance and mastoid process in all specimens with the type II nerve configuration. Based on our findings, the inverted U incision would be less likely to injure the type II nerves but would necessarily cross over type I nerves, especially more cranially on the nerve at the apex of the incision. As the more traditional linear incision would most likely transect the type I nerves and more so near their trunk, the U incision may be the overall better choice in avoiding neural and occipital artery injury during retrosigmoid approaches.

Concepts: Nervous system, Muscle, Nerve, Scalp, Bones of the head and neck, Greater occipital nerve, Lesser occipital nerve, Inion


OBJECT Most of the craniometric relationships of the normal craniocervical junction (CCJ), especially those related to angular craniometry, are still poorly studied and based on measurements taken from simple plain radiographs. In this study, the authors performed a craniometric evaluation of the CCJ in a population without known CCJ anomalies. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the normal CCJ craniometry based on measurements obtained from CT scans. METHOD The authors analyzed 100 consecutive CCJ CT scans obtained in adult patients who were admitted at their tertiary hospital for treatment of non-CCJ conditions between 2010 and 2012. A total of 17 craniometrical measurements were performed, including the relation of the odontoid with the cranial base, the atlantodental interval (ADI), the clivus length, the clivus-canal angle (CCA)-the angle formed by the clivus and the upper cervical spine, and the basal angle. RESULTS The mean age of the 100 patients was 50.6 years, and the group included 52 men (52%) and 48 women (48%). In 5 patients (5%), the tip of the odontoid process was more than 2 mm above the Chamberlain line, and in one of these 5 patients (1% of the study group). it was more than 5 mm above it. One patient had a Grabb-Oakes measurement above 9 mm (suggesting ventral cervicomedullary encroachment). The mean ADI value was 1.1 mm. The thickness of the external occipital protuberance ranged from 7.42 to 22.36 mm. The mean clivus length was 44.74 mm, the mean CCA was 153.68° (range 132.32°-173.95°), and the mean basal angle was 113.73° (ranging from 97.06°-133.26°). CONCLUSIONS The data obtained in this study can be useful for evaluating anomalies of the CCJ in comparison with normal parameters, potentially improving the diagnostic criteria of these anomalies. When evaluating CCJ malformations, one should take into account the normal ranges based on CT scans, with more precise bone landmarks, instead of those obtained from simple plain radiographs.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Radiography, Tomographic reconstruction, Cervical vertebrae, Bones of the head and neck, Craniometry, Inion, Booster Gold


OBJECT Safe and effective insertion of occipital bone screws requires morphological analysis of the occipital bone, which is poorly documented in the literature. The authors of this study present morphological data for determining the area of screw placement for optimal internal fixation. METHODS The subjects of this institutional review board-approved retrospective study were 105 individuals without head and neck disease who underwent CT imaging at the authors' hospital. There were 55 males and 50 females, with a mean age of 57.1 years (range 20-91 years). Measurements using CT were taken according to a matrix of 55 points following a grid with 1-cm spacing based on the external occipital protuberance (EOP). RESULTS The maximum thickness of the occipital bone was at the level of the EOP at 16.4 mm. Areas with thicknesses > 8 mm were more frequent at the EOP and up to 2 cm in all directions, as well as up to 1 cm in all directions at a height of 1 cm inferiorly, and up to 3 cm from the EOP inferiorly. The male group tended to have a thicker occipital bone than the female group, and the differences were significant around the EOP. The ratio of the trabecular bone to the occipital bone thickness was > 30% in the central region. At positions more than 2 cm laterally, the ratio was < 15%, and the ratio gradually decreased further laterally. CONCLUSIONS Screws that are 8 mm long can be placed in the area extending 2 cm laterally from the EOP at the level of the superior nuchal line and approximately 3 cm inferior to the center. These results suggest that it may be possible to effectively insert a screw over a wider area than the conventional reference range.

Concepts: Male, Female, Sex, Ratio, Skull, Bones of the head and neck, Inion, Squama occipitalis


BackgroundAnatomical differences between humans and domestic mammals preclude the use of reported stereotactic approaches to the brainstem in animals. In animals, brainstem biopsies are required both for histopathological diagnosis of neurological disorders and for research purposes. Sheep are used as a translational model for various types of brain disease and therefore a species-specific approach needs to be developed. The aim of the present study was to establish a minimally invasive, accurate and reproducible stereotactic approach to the brainstem of sheep, using the magnetic resonance imaging guided BrainsightTM frameless stereotactic system.ResultsA transoccipital transcerebellar approach with an entry point in the occipital bone above the vermis between the transverse sinus and the external occipital protuberance was chosen. This approach provided access to the target site in all heads. The overall mean needle placement error was 1.85¿±¿1.22 mm.ConclusionsThe developed transoccipital transcerebellar route is short, provides accurate access to the ovine caudal cranial fossa and is a promising approach to be assessed further in live animals.

Concepts: Brain, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Neurology, Skull, Bones of the head and neck, Inion