Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 249–252 | Cite as

Cervical uncinate process: an anatomic study for anterior decompression of the cervical spine

  • J. Lu
  • N. A. Ebraheim
  • H. Yang
  • M. Skie
  • R. A. Yeasting
Anatomic Bases Of Medical, Radiological And Surgical Techniques


Morphometric evaluation of 54 dry cervical spines from C3 to C7 (a total of 270 cervical vertebrae) was performed to determine the bony boundaries of the uncinate process for resection of the uncinate process for access to posterolateral osteophytes or herniated disks at the time of anterior cervical diskectomy. The uncinate processes were significantly higher (p<0.01) at the C4 – C6 levels (5.8 ± 1.1 mm to 6.1 ± 1.3 mm) than at the C3 or C7 levels. The distance between the medial and lateral margins of the base of the uncinate process was significantly smaller (p<0.01) at the C3 level (4.9 ± 0.7 mm) than at the C7 level (6.3 ± 0.7 mm). The anteroposterior diameter of the medial margin of the uncinate process decreased gradually from the C5 (12.5 ± 1.5 mm) to C7 levels (11.6 ± 1.3 mm) (p<0.05). The interuncinate distance widened from the C3 (19.2 ± 1.5 mm) to the C7 (24.6 ± 2.1 mm) levels (p<0.01). The mid-anteroposterior diameter of vertebral body increased gradually from the C3 (14.7 ± 1.1 mm) to the C7 levels (16.1 ± 1.5 mm) (p<0.01). The width of the vertebra increased gradually from C3 to C7 (from 19.2 ± 1.8 mm at C3 to 25.6 ± 2.0 mm at C7) (p<0.01). Knowledge of all the aforementioned data may be helpful during anterolateral cervical uncosectomy or uncoforaminotomy.

Key words

Cervical spine Uncinate process Radiculopathy Decompression Anatomy 

Le processus unciné cervical : étude anatomique appliquée à la décompression antérieure de la colonne cervicale


Nous avons réalisé l'évaluation morphométrique de 54 colonnes cervicales sèches de C3 à C7 (soit un total de 270 vertèbres cervicales) pour déterminer les limites osseuses du processus unciné, avec application à sa résection pour accéder aux ostéophytes postéro-latéraux ou à une hernie discale au cours d'une discectomie cervicale antérieure. Les processus unciné étaient significativement plus hauts (p<0,01) aux niveaux C4–C6 (de 5,8 ± 1,1 mm, à 6,1 ± 1,3 mm) qu'aux niveaux C3 ou C7. La distance séparant les bords médial et latéral de la base du processus unciné était significativement plus petite (p<0,01) au niveau C3 (4,9 ± 0,7 mm) qu'au niveau C7 (6,3 ± 0,7 mm). Le diamètre sagittal du bord médial du processus unciné diminuait graduellement du niveau C5 (12,5 ± 1,5 mm) au niveau C7 (11,6 ± 1,3 mm) (p<0,05). La distance séparant les processus uncinés augmentait du niveau C3 (19,2 ± 1,5 mm) au niveau C7 (24,6 ± 2,1 mm) (p<0,01). Le diamètre sagittal médian du corps vertébral augmentait graduellement du niveau C3 (14,7 ± 1,1 mm) au niveau C7 (16,1 ± 1,5 mm) (p<0,01). La largeur de la vertèbre augmentait graduellement du niveau C3 (19,2 ± 1,8 mm) au niveau C7 (25,6 ± 2,0 mm) (p<0,01). Les renseignements ainsi obtenus peuvent être utiles au cours des uncusectomies et des uncusoforaminotomies cervicales antéro-latérales.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Lu
    • 1
  • N. A. Ebraheim
    • 1
  • H. Yang
    • 1
  • M. Skie
    • 1
  • R. A. Yeasting
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryMedical College of OhioToledoUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyMedical College of OhioToledoUSA

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