Asian Spine J.  2018 Aug;12(4):726-733. 10.31616/asj.2018.12.4.726.

Comparison of Three Different Options for C7 Posterior Vertebral Anchor in the Indian Population—Lateral Mass, Pedicle, and Lamina: A Computed Tomography-Based Morphometric Analysis

  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
  • 2Department of Radiodiagnosis, Government Medical College and Hospital, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India.
  • 3Department of Mental Health, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, India.


STUDY DESIGN: Radiological cohort study. PURPOSE: The options of posteriorly stabilizing C7 vertebra include using lateral mass, pedicle or lamina, as bony anchors. The current study is a computed tomography (CT)-based morphometric analysis of C7 vertebra of 100 Indian patients and discusses the feasibility of these different techniques. OVERVIEW OF LITERATURE: C7 is a peculiar vertebra with unique anatomy, which poses challenges for each of these fixation modalities. There are no reports available in the literature, which discuss and compare the feasibility of diverse posterior C7 fixation techniques in Indian population.
We included 100 consecutive cervical spine CT scans of Indian patients performed between July 2016 and September 2016. We excluded CT scans with any significant congenital anomaly or other pathological lesions of C7 and patients with non-Indian ethnicity. Regarding screw placement, we assessed and studied various dimensions of the C7 lateral mass, pedicles, and laminae in relevant sections.
The mean age of our patients was 49.5±16.1 years. We included 56 male and 44 female patients. The mean anteroposterior and mediolateral dimensions of the lateral mass were 11.38±1.76 and 12.91±1.82 mm, respectively. The mean length of the lateral mass screw (Magerl technique) was 12.17±1.9 mm; 92% of patients could accommodate a lateral mass screw at least 10-mm long (unicortical), whereas 48% could accommodate a screw (unicortical) longer than 12 mm. Foramen transversarium was found in 30.5% of lateral masses. The mean outer and inner cortical widths of the pedicles were 6.5±0.71 mm and 3.72±0.61 mm, respectively. Approximately 58% of pedicles could accommodate 3.5-mm screws (based on the inner cortical pedicle width). The outer cortical and inner cortical widths of the laminae were 6.21±1.2 mm and 3.23±0.9 mm, respectively. Subsequently, 37% of the laminae could accommodate 3.5-mm screws. The mean angle of intralaminar screw trajectory was 50.7°±5.1°, and the mean length of the intralaminar screw was 32.6±3.05 mm. In addition, 96.4% and 60.7% of male patients could accommodate lateral mass screws longer than 10 mm and 12 mm, respectively. However, only 86.4% and 31.8% of female patients could accommodate 10- and 12-mm long lateral mass screws, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of male patients and 36% of female patients had pedicles that could accommodate 3.5-mm diameter screws, and 48.2% of male patients had laminae that could accommodate 3.5-mm screws; however, only 22.7% of female patients could accommodate 3.5-mm laminar screws.
Based on our CT-guided morphometric analysis, 92% and 48% of Indian patients could accommodate at least 10- and 12-mm long lateral mass screws, and 58% of pedicles and 37% of laminae could accommodate 3.5-mm screws. Thus, lateral mass screws (between 10- and 12-mm long) seem to be the safest feasible option for C7 fixation. In case of the need for an alternative mode of stabilization (pedicle or intralaminar screw), particularly in female patients, careful preoperative planning with a CT scan is of utmost importance.


Cervical vertebrae; Cervicothoracic fusion; Vertebra stabilization; Vertebral screws; Pedicle screws

MeSH Terms

Cervical Vertebrae
Cohort Studies
Pedicle Screws
Tomography, X-Ray Computed
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