Do sagittal plane anatomical variations (angulation) of the cervical facets and C2 odontoid affect the geometrical configuration of the cervical lordosis?

Clin Anat. 2005 Mar;18(2):104-11. doi: 10.1002/ca.20064.


Anthropometric and statistical evaluation of measurements from digitization of 252 lateral cervical radiographs were used to investigate any correlation between radiographic measurements of cervical lordosis with sagittal plane facet angulation, articular pillar height, and inclination of the C2 odontoid with respect to the body of C2. Some researchers have hypothesized that facet and odontoid architecture variations can cause a reduction in cervical lordosis. To evaluate this hypothesis, the posterior aspect of the C2 dens, vertebral body corners, and superior and inferior facet surfaces of C2-C7 were digitized on 252 lateral cervical X-rays to calculate global angle, segmental angles, dens angle, facet angles, and facet height. No correlation between facet angle, articular pillar height, and cervical curve was found. Similarly, no correlation between the sagittal angle of the dens and any angle of cervical curvature was identified. There was correlation between the global ARA C2-C7 angle and the Cobb angles at C1-C7 (r = 0.71) and C2-C7 (r = 0.82). There was correlation between the global inclination of the atlas vertebral angle (APL) and the Cobb angle at C1-C7 (r = 0.66), Cobb angle at C2-C7 (r = 0.39), ARA C2-C7 (r = 0.42), and anterior translation of C2 compared to C7 (r = -0.46). Because no correlation between cervical facet and odontoid architecture and any segmental or global angle of cervical lordosis was found, conservative and surgical rehabilitative techniques aimed at the reduction of sagittal cervical deformities do not need to account for a patient's architecture of the cervical facets nor odontoid.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology
  • Lordosis / complications
  • Lordosis / etiology
  • Lordosis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neck Pain / etiology
  • Odontoid Process / anatomy & histology*
  • Retrospective Studies