Computed Tomographic Study of Occipital Thickness in Ethnic Malays
Introduction: Occipitocervical fusion is performed to address craniocervical and atlantoaxial instability. A screw of at least 8mm is needed for biomechanical stability. Occipital thickness of Malay ethnicity is unknown, and this study presents the optimal screw placement positions for occiput screw in this population. This was a retrospective crosssectional study of 100 Malays who underwent computed tomography (CT) scan for brain assessment. To measure the occipital bone thickness of Malay ethnicity at the area of common screw placement for occipitocervical fusion. The subject’s data was obtained from the institutional database with consent from the administrations and the patients. None of the patients had any head and neck pathology.
Materials and methods: The subject’s data was obtained from the institutional database with consent from the administrations and the patients. None of the patients had any head and neck pathology. Computed tomography (CT) of 100 Malay patients who underwent head and neck CT were analysed, based on our inclusion and exclusion criteria. Measurements were taken using a specialised viewer software where 55 points were measured, followed a grid with 10mm distance using external occipital protuberance (EOP) as the reference point.
Results: There were 57 males and 43 females of Malay ethnicity with a mean age of 36.7 years analysed in this study. The EOP was the thickest bone of the occiput which measured 16.15mm. There was an area of at least 8mm thickness up to 20mm on either side of the EOP, and at level 10mm inferior to the EOP. There is thickness of at least 8mm, up to 30mm inferior to the EOP at the midline. The males have significantly thicker bone especially along the midline compared to females.
Conclusion: Screws of at least 8mm can be safely inserted in the Malay population at 20mm on either side of the EOP at the level 10mm inferior to the EOP and up to 30mm inferior to the EOP at the midline.
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