Purpose: We propose an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based quantitative morphovolumetric approach to the posterior cranial fossa (PCF) and craniocervical junction (CCJ) changes in achondroplastic patients investigating possible associations with ventriculomegaly and medullary compression. Methods: We analyzed MRI of 13 achondroplastic children not treated by surgery. 3D FSPGR T1-weighted images were used to analyze (1) PCF synchondroses; (2) PCF volume (PCFV), PCF brain volume (PCFBV), PCFV/PCFBV ratio, cerebellar volume, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) spaces volume, and IV ventricle volume; (3) PCF (clivus, supraocciput, exocciput lengths, tentorial angle) and CCJ (AP and LL diameters of foramen magnum (FM)) morphometry; (4) measurements of FM and jugular foramina (JF) areas; and (5) supratentorial ventricular volume. Results: All patients showed synostosis of spheno-occipital synchondroses, eight showed synostosis of intra-occipital synchondroses, nine showed CCJ impingement on the cervical cord but only three had cervical myelopathy. Compared to controls, clivus and exocciput lengths, LL and AP diameters of FM, FM area and JF area were significantly reduced, supraocciput length, tentorial angle, PCFV, PCFBV, cerebellar volume, supratentorial ventricular system volume were significantly increased. A correlation was found between clivus length and supratentorial ventricular volume, premature closure of intra-occipital synchondroses and FM area while a trend was found between FM area and supraocciput length. Conclusion: Our analysis demonstrates a relationship between the shortening of the clivus and the ventriculomegaly. On the other hand the premature closure of PCF synchondroses, the shape, and the growth direction of supraocciput bone contribute to reduce the FM area, causing in some patients medullary compression.
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Craniocervical junction
- Foramen magnum
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Neurology (clinical)
- Posterior cranial fossa
- Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging