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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502

Abstract

GONCALVES MARTINS, Johnny Wesley; PRATESI, Riccardo  and  CHINA BEZERRA, Armando José. ANATOMICAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VERTEBRAL ARTERIES AND CERVICAL VERTEBRAE: A COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY STUDY. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2003, vol.21, n.2, pp.123-129. ISSN 0717-9502.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022003000200005.

Vertebral arteries ascend lateral to the cervical spine. Although non-contrasting tomographic studies have attempted to determine the anatomical relationship between these arteries and the spine, the presence and position of the former have yet to be clearly demonstrated. This study was thus aimed to determine the position of the vertebral arteries in relation to the midline, anterior and posterior planes of the vertebral body of each cervical vertebrae. Twenty six adult patients, without lesions that could distort normal anatomy, were employed as subjects and 52 vertebral arteries were analyzed. Two-dimensional computerized tomographies scans were conducted following the injection of an intra-venous contrast. Statistical analyses evaluated the differences between the distances of the vertebral arteries to the various cervical vertebrae. At the level of C1 and C7 the vertebral arteries were found to be farther from the midline plane (p<0.0001), compared to the other levels. The left vertebral artery was also found to be closer to the midline plane of C1 (p=0.0461) than the right artery. As these arteries ascended, greater distances from the anterior plane were verified. Finally, the vertebral arteries migrated dorsally in relation to the posterior plane, reaching significant distances at C1 (smallest distance) and C7 (greatest distance) (p<0.0001 and p<0.0001, respectivelly). The vertebral arteries, therefore, do not seem to follow a linear ascending pathway, distancing themselves from the midline plane at their upper and lower limits. Lateral, dorsal and ventral migrations were observed, in relation to the cervical vertebrae, rendering these arteries less vulnerable ventrally at C1 and at the level of the intervertebral foramina at C7

Keywords : Vertebral artery; Sinal column; Computerized tomography.

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