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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 130-131

Congenital exostoses of the cervical vertebrae

Department of Neurosurgery, Pt. B.D.S. PGIMS, Rohtak

Correspondence Address:
Department of Neurosurgery, Pt. B.D.S. PGIMS, Rohtak

How to cite this article:
Chitkara N, Sharma N K, Dhall U, Bakshi N, Kamal H. Congenital exostoses of the cervical vertebrae . Neurol India 2003;51:130-1

How to cite this URL:
Chitkara N, Sharma N K, Dhall U, Bakshi N, Kamal H. Congenital exostoses of the cervical vertebrae . Neurol India [serial online] 2003 [cited 2023 Jan 27];51:130-1. Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2003/51/1/130/1067

Any osseous disease may involve the spinous processes. Since the tips of the spinal processes are palpable, their examination is sometimes of great diagnostic value. This applies not only to percussion pain, but also to other disorders of bone tissue which can be demonstrated by pressure and percussion. The superficial position of the tips readily permits a biopsy and has significance in the localization of vertebral levels. Congenital anomalies of the spinous processes might cause a problem in identification on the roentgenogram and preoperative localization.
A 5-year-old female patient presented with two bony swellings at the back of the neck. The problem was only cosmetic to her. On examination, there was no neurological deficit. There was a bony stump palpable in the region of the upper cervical spine to the left of the spinous process. The second “rib”-like swelling was present beneath this, approximately 7 cm in length and running inferiorly to the left of the spinous processes of the lower cervical spine. X-ray cervical spine [Figure - 1] confirmed these findings with no additional bony abnormality. MRI of the cervical spine showed normal spinal cord. Peroperatively, [Figure - 2] “stump”-like bony growth was seen to be an enlarged left-sided spinous process of C3 vertebra. The inferior “rib”-like outgrowth had its origin from the lamina of C4 vertebra and was extending inferiorly up to D2 level. C4-C7 spinous processes were fused with normal muscle attachment on either side and the bony outgrowth was superficial to the muscle attachment. Both these outgrowths were excised from their base and on histopathological examination these had normal osseous structure.
During 3-6 weeks of gestation, cellular differentiation, migration and segmentation of the axial skeleton takes place to form the mesenchymal analage of the vertebral column.[1] Chondrification centers in this analage are established within 7 weeks of gestation[2] and ossification centers appear from the second embryonic month onwards. The spinous process does not have its own ossification center (except for its tip), and is formed during the first year of life by fusion of the endochondral growing osseous extensions from both vertebral arches. The tip of the spinous process develops from a secondary ossification center at puberty. Hypoplasia of vertebral arches leading to spina bifida is well known. Hypoplasia of one arch and overgrowth of the other arch resulting in deviated spine is also known.[3] Abnormal extension of chondrification and ossification of one vertebral arch with normal development of the other arch can only explain the present anomaly. Overgrowth of secondary ossification center for spinous process is ruled out, keeping in view the age of the patient. 

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1.Lonstein JE. Spine embryology. In: Winter RB, editor. Congenital deformities of the spine. New York: Thieme-Stratton Inc; 1983. pp. 1-11.   Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Congenital and developmental abnormalities of spine. In: Sharrad WJM, editor. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publication; 1971. pp. 311-83.   Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Development, growth, anatomy and function of the spine. In: Schmoral G, Junghanns H. eds. The Human Spine in Health and Disease. New York: Grune and Stratton; 1971. pp. 2-41.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Willis TH. The separate neural arch. J Bone Surg 1931;13:709.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Ledda G. Processus styloides der Lendenwirbelsaule. Zentr Org Ges Chir 1935;71:268.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Variation and malformation of the spine. In: Schmoral G, Junghanns H. eds. The Human Spine in Health and Disease. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1971:55-96.  Back to cited text no. 6    


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