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Eur Spine J. 2012 Aug;21(8):1451-8. doi: 10.1007/s00586-012-2295-y. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Ethnic differences in pedicle and bony spinal canal dimensions calculated from computed tomography of the cervical spine: a review of the English-language literature.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Utsunomiya National Hospital, Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan.



The aims of this study were to review published data on pedicle dimensions and bony spinal canal diameters calculated from CT examinations of the cervical spine through the English-language literature and analyze these data for ethnic disparities and similarities.


The authors reviewed the literature on "pedicle" and "spinal canal" by conducting a bibliographic search using PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, and Science Direct from January 1985 to December 2010. After evaluating all of the selected abstracts, we ultimately selected 19 studies involving living subjects: 12 studies on pedicle dimensions and 7 on spinal canal diameters. The four parameters, pedicle width (PW), pedicle transverse angle (PTA), anterior-posterior diameter of the spinal canal (APD), and transverse diameter of the spinal canal (TD), were analyzed at the relevant levels from C3 to C7. In addition, the values for pedicle dimensions and spinal canal diameters in the European/American populations were compared using the data from Asian populations as a baseline.


The smallest mean PW was found at C4 in the male (5.1 mm) and female populations (4.1 mm); the largest mean PW was found at C7 in both male (7.7 mm) and female populations (7 mm). The PW in males was greater than in females at the majority of levels. The smallest mean PTA was found at C7 in both male (33.4°) and female populations (33°); the largest mean PTA was found at C4 in both male (53.2°) and female populations (52.1°). The overall PW, PTA, APD, and TD ratio of European/American to Asian populations was 91.4-98.8, 99.6-106.2, 110.7-122, and 100-108.3 %, respectively.


Although our cervical spine CT data were suggestive of possible ethnic differences in spinal canal morphology, our analysis failed to identify significant ethnic disparity in pedicle dimensions despite potential differences in physique between populations.

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