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Minerva Stomatologica 2009 July-August;58(7-8):331-45


language: English, Italian

Relationship between facial morphology and cervical vertebral shape: a radiographic investigation

Sforza C., Dellavia C., Ferrante V., Ferrario V. F.

Functional Anatomy Research Center (FARC) Functional Anatomy Laboratory of the Stomatognathic System (LAFAS) Department of Human Morphology and Biomedical Sciences “Città Studi” Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy


Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between the characteristics of cervical vertebrae and craniofacial morphology using a global mathematical method.
Methods. Several cephalometric measurements and the outlines of the second (C2) and fourth (C4) cervical vertebrae were obtained from 45 head films (32 females aged 20-40 years; 13 males aged 21-37 years). Vertebral outlines were mathematically obtained by Fourier series, and the morphological distance between each outline and a reference one was computed. Linear correlations were run between cephalometric variables and morphological distances.
Results. Significant correlations (P<0.05) were found between anterior cranial base length (sella-nasion) and the morphological distance of C4 (subjects with a longer cranial base differ more from the reference vertebral outline), and between maxillary length and the morphological distance of C2 (subjects with a shorter maxilla differ more from the reference vertebral outline). The relationship between mandibular base length (Go-Me) and the morphological distance of C2 (subjects with a shorter mandible differ more from the reference vertebral outline) was nearly significant. Within each subject, the two analyzed vertebrae had independent relationships with the reference outlines.
Conclusion. A significant but limited relationship between craniofacial structures and vertebral morphology was found: at the best, 10% of the differences between the individual vertebral morphology and the reference one may be explained by craniofacial cephalometric measurements. The differences found between C2 and C4 morphologies may show a different effect of suboccipital muscles and of neck muscles within the theories of the functional matrix hypothesis.

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