Junyu Lin, Ganggang Kong, Xiaolin Xu, Qi Liu, Zucheng Huang, Qingan Zhu, Wei Ji

October 2019, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 2342 - 2351 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-06039-5

First Online: 03 July 2019

Clival screw and plate fixation by the transoral approach for the craniovertebral junction: a CT-based feasibility study


A clivus screw and plate was invented and proved to strengthen the stability of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ). However, it is unclear whether the clivus screw and plate could be placed onto the CVJ by transoral approach. Therefore, the present study aims to evaluate the feasibility of clivus screw and plate placement by transoral approach and investigate its relative anatomic parameters.


A total of 80 normal adults (40 males/40 females) with an average age of 60.4 ± 11.6 years old were enrolled in this study. All parameters were measured in a supposed maximums mouth-opening status on computed tomography images, where the vertex of lower incisor was defined as Point A. The vertical intersection from Point A to extracranial clivus was defined as Point B, and its distance to the bottom of clivus was measured as B length. Point B was considered as ideal screw entry point. All the cases were divided into three types based on the location of Point B: above the top portion (Type 1), between the top and bottom portion (Type 2), and below the bottom portion (Type 3) of extracranial clivus. The B Length was defined as a minus value if the case belonged to Type 3. The anterior skull base angle, the angles between tangent of extracranial clivus and the lines from Point A to different parts of clivus, and distances between Point A and clivus and C1-3 vertebra were also measured.


One in eighty cases (1.2%) belonged to Type 1 with a B Length of 32.12 mm. Most cases (61.3%) were Type 2 with a B Length of 8.7 mm, while Type 3’s was − 9.7 mm occupying for 37.5%. Significant statistic differences were found in anterior skull base angle between these three types (128.9°, 122.7° and 118.5° for Type 1, 2 and 3, respectively). The distances from Point A to the top and bottom portion of the clivus and the pharyngeal tubercle were 97.5, 96.0 and 96.8 mm, respectively. The angles between the tangent of the clivus and the lines from Point A to the above three structures were 75.7°, 92.3° and 84.0°, respectively. The distances from Point A to the middle point of anterior margin of C1 anterior tubercle, C2 vertebra and C3 vertebra were 79.1, 73.4 and 61.5 mm, respectively.


The clivus screw and plate placement could be accomplished with optimal screw angle by transoral approach in most of patients. Mandibular splitting would be needed in patients with greater anterior skull angle.

Graphic abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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