Posterior odontoid process inclination has been demonstrated as a factor associated with Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) in the pediatric population; however, no studies to date have examined this measurement in the adult CM-I population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate craniocervical junction (CCJ) measurements in adult CM-I versus a control group.
The odontoid retroflexion, odontoid retroversion, odontoid height, posterior basion to C-2 line measured to the dural margin (pB-C2 line), posterior basion to C-2 line measured to the dorsal odontoid cortical margin (pB-C2* line), and clivus-canal angle measurements were retrospectively analyzed in adult patients with CM-I using MRI. These measurements were compared with normative values established from CT scans of the cervical spine in adults without CM-I.
A statistically significant difference was found between 55 adults with CM-I and 150 sex-matched controls (125 used for analysis) in the mean clivus-canal angle and the mean pB-C2 line.
These data suggest that there are sex-specific differences with respect to measurements at the CCJ between men and women, with women showing a more posteriorly inclined odontoid process. There were also differences between the CM-I and control groups: a more acute clivus-canal angle was associated with CM-I in the adult population. These CCJ findings could have an influence on presurgical planning.