OBJECTIVE The revelation of normative radiographic measurements for the developing pediatric spine is incomplete. The purpose of this analysis was to determine the normal range of asymmetry of the lateral atlantodental interval (LADI) and define age- and sex-related differences. METHODS A total of 3072 children aged 0–18 years who underwent CT scanning of the cervical spine were identified at Riley Hospital for Children between 2005 and 2017. Patients were stratified by sex and age (in years) into 36 cohorts. Following this stratification, patients within each group were randomly selected for inclusion until 15 patients in each group had been measured (quota sampling). A total of 540 patients were included for study. Right and left linear measurements were performed in the CT axial plane at the C-1 midlateral mass level. RESULTS The overall mean difference between the right and left LADI was 0.09 ± 1.23 mm (range -6.05 to 4.87 mm). The magnitude of this asymmetry remained statistically insignificant across age groups (p = 0.278) and sex (p = 0.889). The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.805 (95% CI 0.779–0.829). CONCLUSIONS Asymmetry of the LADI is not unusual in asymptomatic children. There is no appreciable difference in magnitude of this asymmetry across age ranges and sex. Measurement of LADI asymmetry shows “good” reliability and is easy to perform. Pediatric neurosurgeons, emergency department physicians, and radiologists should be aware of normative values of asymmetry when interpreting CT scans of the cervical spine. This may prevent unnecessary further workup with dynamic CT or MRI.
- CT morphometric study
- Lateral atlantodental interval
- Odontoid lateral mass interval
- Pediatric cervical spine
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Clinical Neurology