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Basilar Invagination, Basilar Impression, and Platybasia: Clinical and Imaging Aspects


The congenital and acquired deformities of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ), such as basilar invagination, basilar impression, or platybasia, can present in the form of slowly progressive or acute neurologic deterioration. In many cases, an insidious headache is the only symptom and can be a diagnostic challenge for the neurologist. Proper imaging studies as well as recognizing often associated neurologic or systemic conditions are required for early diagnosis and effective therapy. In the current report, the primary focus will be on clinical aspects of these CVJ abnormalities; the pathologic and radiologic aspects, such as developmental and pathophysiologic background or radiographic analysis, will be discussed briefly, confined to clinically relevant data.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Laszlo Mechtler.

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Conflict of Interest

Nandor Pinter declares grant funding from the Dent Family Foundation.

Jennifer McVige declares no conflict of interest.

Laszlo Mechtler declares personal fees as speaker honoraria from Teva, Allergan, Depomed, and Pernix.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Imaging

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Pinter, N.K., McVige, J. & Mechtler, L. Basilar Invagination, Basilar Impression, and Platybasia: Clinical and Imaging Aspects. Curr Pain Headache Rep 20, 49 (2016).

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  • Basilar impression
  • Platybasia
  • MRI
  • Chiari malformation
  • Craniovertebral junction
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta