Morphological Analysis on the Occipital Condyles and Review of the Literature

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José Aderval Aragão; Guilherme Machado de Santana; Rebeca Zelice da Cruz de Moraes; Iapunira Catarina Sant’Anna Aragão; Felipe Matheus Sant’Anna Aragão & Francisco Prado Reis


Most anatomical and biomechanical studies on the craniovertebral junction have involved morphological or morphometric analysis on the occipital condyles. Some of these studies have provided important findings based on different surgical procedures. The shape, size and angle of the occipital condyles and the locations of the intracranial and extracranial orifices of the hypoglossal canal are highly important because they may affect the lateral approaches to the craniovertebral junction. To determine the frequency of occurrence of different morphological types of occipital condyle. 214 occipital condyles in 107 dry human skulls were analyzed and the classification of their morphological types was determined through assessing digitized photographic images. Among the 107 skulls analyzed, 59.8 % were male and 40.2 % were female. Their ages ranged from 11 to 91 years, with a mean of 57.56 years. Of the total of 10 morphological types of occipital condyle that were found, more than 50 % were of the “8”, “S” and ring types. Condyles of “8” and “S” shape were the main types found in male skulls: the “8” shape prevailed on the left side and the “S” shape on the right side. However, in female skulls, these two types had equal bilateral distribution.

KEY WORDS: Skull; Occipital condyle; Atlanto-occipital joint; Surgical anatomy; Craniofacial abnormalities; Morphology; Occipital bone.

How to cite this article

ARAGÃO, J. A.; DE SANTANA, G. M.; DA CRUZ DE MORAES, R. Z.; ARAGÃO, I. C. S.; ARAGÃO, F. M. S.; REIS, P. F. Morphological analysis on the occipital condyles and review of the literature. Int. J. Morphol., 35(3):1129-1132, 2017.