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J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2012 Sep;3(3):261-6. doi: 10.4103/0976-3147.102602.

Morphometric analysis of posterior fossa and foramen magnum.

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Department of Neurosurgery, NSCB Medical College and MP MRI Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India.



Configuration and size of the foramen magnum and posterior fossa plays an important role in the pathophysiology of the posterior fossa and craniovertebral junction disorders. This study is aimed to find out various dimensions of the foramen magnum and posterior fossa.


This is a prospective study of 100 consecutive normal computerized tomography (CT) scans of posterior fossa and 100 dry adult skulls without any bony abnormality. The posterior fossa volume was calculated by abc/2 in method 1 and by advanced work station of CT scan in method 2. Various dimensions of posterior fossa and foramen magnum were also studied.


Age ranged from 16 to 89 years with a mean of 51.3 years. Mean height of posterior fossa were 3.01 cm (±0.22) and 3.52 (±0.43) cm in dry skull and CT scan group, respectively (P < 0.0001). Mean volume of posterior fossa were 157.88 (±27.94) cm(3) and 159.58 (±25.73) cm(3) by method 1 and method 2, respectively (P > 0.05). All the dimensions of posterior fossa and foramen magnum were larger in male as compared to female. Mean anteroposterior (AP), transverse diameter and surface area of the foramen magnum were 3.31 (±0.35) cm, 2.76 (±0.31) cm, and 729.15 (±124.87) mm(2), respectively, in CT scan group as compared to 3.41 (±0.29) cm, 2.75 (±0.25) cm, and 747.67 (±108.60) mm(2), respectively, in dry skull group.


Normal values of posterior fossa and foramen magnum could serve as a future reference. Dry skull dimensions could be different from CT scan measurement. More studies are needed as there could be variations in dimensions in different regions in India.


Foramen magnum; posterior cranial fossa; skull

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