A 3D cone beam computed tomography study of the styloid process of the temporal bone

Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2013 Feb;72(1):29-35. doi: 10.5603/fm.2013.0005.


Background: To investigate the length and three-dimensional orientation and to detail the morphological variations of the styloid process.

Materials and methods: Forty-four patients undergoing temporal bone evaluation for different reasons were randomly selected and included in the present study. The length, angulation in the coronal and sagittal planes, as well as morphological variations of the styloid processes were assessed using conebeam computer tomography. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to test possible associations between the length of styloid process and angulations, as well as between angulations. Student's t-test was used to compare the differences between the sample mean length and angulations in normal and elongated styloid process groups.

Results: The sagittal angle showed weak positive correlations with the styloid process length and the transverse angle (r = 0.24, p = 0.02, n = 88). A medium positive correlation was found between the sagittal and transverse angulations in the elongated styloid process group (r = 0.49, p = 0.0015, n = 38). There was a statistical significant difference between the mean sagittal angulation in elongated styloid and normal styloid process groups (p = 0.015). The styloid process morphology also varied in terms of shape, number, and degree of ossification.

Conclusions: The morphometric and morphologic variations of the styloid process may be important factors to be taken into account not only from the viewpoint of styloid syndromes, but also in preoperatory planning and during surgery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Female
  • Glossopharyngeal Nerve Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Glossopharyngeal Nerve Injuries / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / pathology
  • Temporal Bone / abnormalities
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporal Bone / pathology
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Eagle syndrome