Occipital vertebra

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 30 Dec 2020

Occipital vertebrae are very rare anatomical variants that result from incomplete or aberrant fusion of occipital bone ossification centers. There is a broad spectrum of occipital vertebrae variations and the four most common include:

Clinical presentation

Symptoms are rare but may include:

Radiographic features

Plain radiography and CT help in the diagnosis of this condition in which a bony projection or arch is seen between the occipital bone and atlas.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: prebasioccipital arch
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  • Case 2: paracondylar process
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  • Case 3: third condyle
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