Background: Craniovertebral surgeries require the anatomical knowledge of craniovertebral junction. The human occipital condyle (OC) is unique bony structure connecting the cranium and the vertebral column. A lateral approach like transcondylar approach (TA) requires understanding of the relationships between the OC, jugular tubercle, and hypoglossal canal. Hence, the aim of the present study was to analyze the morphological variations in OCs of dry adult human skull. Materials and Methods: The study was carried out on 142 OC of 71 adult human dry skulls (55 males and 16 females). Morphometric parameters such as length, width, thickness, intercondylar distances, and the distances from the OC to the foramen magnum, hypoglossal canal and jugular foramen were measured. In addition, the different locations of the hypoglossal canal orifices in relation to the OC and different shapes of the OC were also noted. Results: The average length, width and height of the OC were found to be 2.2, 1.1 and 0.9 cm. The anterior and posterior intercondylar distances were 2.1 and 3.9 cm, respectively. Maximum and minimum bicondylar distances were 4.5 and 2.6 cm, respectively. The intra-cranial orifice of the hypoglossal canal was found to be present in middle 1/3 rdin all skulls (100%), and extra-cranial orifice of the hypoglossal canal was found to be in anterior 1/3 rd(98%) in relation to OC. The oval shaped OC (22.5%) was the most predominant type of OC observed in these skulls. Conclusion: Occipital condyle is likely to have variations with respect to shape, length, width and its orientation. Therefore, knowledge of the variations in OC along with careful radiological analysis may help in safe TAs during skull base surgery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology