Background: The unique feature of cervical vertebrae is the presence of foramen bilaterally in their transverse processes called foramen transversarium (FT). Vertebral artery, vertebral vein, and sympathetic nerve pass through it. Normally, there is one FT on either side. Occasionally, it is either absent or duplicated unilaterally or bilaterally. Thorough anatomical knowledge about such variations is essential for surgeons and clinicians.
Objectives: The objectives of this study were to find out the incidence of accessory foramen transversarium (AFT) in the cervical vertebrae.
Materials and Methods: The present work was carried out on 100 dry cervical (including both typical and atypical) vertebrae of unknown age and sex. All the vertebrae were macroscopically examined for the presence of AFT. Vertebrae having AFT unilaterally or bilaterally were separated and photographed. Data compiled and analyzed.
Results: The incidence of AFT was 20% in the cervical vertebrae including both typical and atypical vertebrae. The presence of AFT was more common in typical cervical vertebrae as compared to atypical vertebrae. Unilateral AFT was more commonly seen. In the present study, atypical cervical vertebrae, namely C1 and C2, have not shown AFT at all.
Conclusions: Anatomical knowledge of such variations is helpful for spine surgeons, clinicians, radiologists, and neurosurgeons, for better pre-operative planning and treatment.
Cervical Vertebrae; Foramen Transversarium; Accessory Foramen Transversarium; Vertebral Artery