OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the osseous variation of the axis spinous process as it may relate to palpation by clinicians.
METHODS: Morphologies of the bifid spinous process in the intact dry axis of 121 Chinese adult were investigated and classified. The angular deflection of the spinous processes, the bifid spinous processes (the bifid portions of the spinous processes), and the length of the bifid spinous processes were observed and measured.
RESULTS: The bifid spinous process morphologies were classified into 4 types: inverted-V shape (n = 49), inverted-U shape (n = 50), M shape (n = 18), and nonbifid spinous processes (n = 4). The direction of the spinous processes and bifid spinous processes were consistent because they depended on each other's direction of deviation. When the correlation between angular deflection of spinous processes and bifid spinous processes was analyzed, the right deviations of spinous process specimens (29 cases) showed that angular deflections of spinous processes were equal to bifid spinous processes and there was no statistically significant difference seen between them (t = 0.286, P > .05), whereas in the left deviations of spinous process specimens (49 cases), the angular deflection of spinous processes were not equal in length, but bigger than the bifid spinous processes, which was statistically significant (t = -3.079, P = .003 < .05).
CONCLUSION: The anatomical structure of the spinous processes and the bifid spinous processes vary from one another, but they exhibit some regularity. In clinical spinal manipulation practice, the anatomical characteristic of the axis should be taken into account during cervical static palpation, diagnostic imaging, and treatment.
Author keywords: Anatomy, Manipulation, Spinal
Author affiliations: School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
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