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Ponticulus Posticus: An Important Diagnostic Finding Often Missed in Lateral Cephalograms.

AIM: The purpose of the current study was to investigate the presence of the ponticulus posticus (PP) frequently encountered in lateral cephalograms.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: About 500 patients of age 12-40 years were selected whose digital lateral cephalogram was recorded and traced to confirm the presence of the PP and categorize as: (A) Absent, as evidenced by lateral cephalograms. (B) Complete PP evidenced by the presence of circumferential bone bridge that connected the upper articular process to the atlas's posterior arch. (C) Partial PP: presented as a bone spike that protruded from the top articular process or the posterior arch of the atlas and extended above the vertebral artery sulcus. Symptoms of migraine, shoulder discomfort, orofacial pain, and headache were also evaluated on interaction with the patients. Using the Chi-square test, the relationship between the patient's gender and the presence of the PP was assessed. A p -value of 0.05 or less was regarded as statistically significant.

RESULTS: About 10% of the patients reported with the presence of complete variant, 70% with partial variant and rest 20% of patients with neither a partial nor a complete form of PP. There was no statistically significant association between the PP and gender, as indicated by the Chi-square values (3.146; p = 0.526).

CONCLUSION: On conclusion, according to the findings of the current study, patients with a complete form of PP experience more symptoms than those with a partial form of PP. In both groups, the PP frequency was higher in females.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: In lateral cephalograms, the cervical spine region is typically ignored and given little weight. A common variation of atlas vertebrae is the PP, which is located in the posterior arch of the atlas. The PP exacerbates symptoms, such as migraine, tension headaches, shoulder pain, double vision, vertigo, stroke, and pain in the neck and orofacial region. Therefore, orthodontic specialists serve as initial diagnosticians and direct the patients to qualified physicians so that they can experience symptom relief.

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