Incidence and morphometry of caroticoclinoid foramina in Greek dry human skulls
Mytilinaios, Dimitrios G.
Piagkou, Maria Nikolaos
Johnson, Elizabeth O.
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Background: Ossification of the caroticoclinoid ligament (CCL) and formation of a caroticoclinoid foramen (CCF) may impose significant risk to neurosurgeons by impeding mobilization of the cavernous segment of the internal carotid artery. Although safe surgical access to the clinoidal space is related to understanding the CCF anatomical and ethnic variants, there remains a paucity of studies of the morphology and bony relationships. The current study provides a systematic morphological and morphometric analysis of the CCF, the ossification of the CCL extending between the anterior and middle clinoid processes, and their relations in a Greek population. Materials and methods: The incidence of unilateral and bilateral CCF, types (complete, incomplete, and contact) of ossified CCLs, and foramina diameter according to side and gender were determined in 76 Greek adult dry skulls. Findings were correlated with the morphology of optic strut (OS) (presulcal, sulcal, postsulcal, and asymmetric). Results: A CCF was detected in 74% of the specimens. The majority of skulls (51.4%) had bilateral CCF, whereas 22.3% of the skulls had unilateral foramina. Incomplete CCF were observed in 69.3%, complete in 19.8%, and contact type in 10.9%. The mean CCF diameter was 0.55 ± 0.07 cm on the left and 0.54 ± 0.08 cm on the right side. Side symmetry existed, although there were no significant differences according to gender. The CCF were more prominent in skulls with a sulcal type of OS. Conclusions: The results of the present study augment the current knowledge on the morphology of key anatomical landmarks, CCF, and CCL ossification in the sellar area, indicating population differences. A significant side asymmetry in caroticoclinoid osseous bridging and foramina is highlighted. These findings are necessary for a safe surgical access to the clinoidal area.