PREVALENCE OF VENTRAL CAROTID CANAL DEHISCENCE IN A KENYAN POPULATION
Background: The completeness of the ventral wall of the carotid canal (CC) has been shown to display ethnic, sex and side differences. Knowledge of these variations is important in prevention of iatrogenic injuries during skull base procedures. Furthermore, novel techniques like Balloon Eustachian Tuboplasty have led to an increasing interest in CC dehiscence. However, there is paucity of this data in a Kenyan population. Therefore, this study sought to establish the prevalence of ventral CC dehiscence in a select Kenyan population.Methods: Ninety-eight dry skulls of known sex obtained from the Osteology Department of the National Museums of Kenya were used to study the ventral aspect of the carotid canal. The presence and the type of ventral CC dehiscence were recorded. The data was analyzed using SPSS Version 25 software with a p-value of ≤ 0.05 being considered significant.Results: Ventral CC dehiscence was absent in majority of the sides examined (86.2%). Minor dehiscence in form of fissures was observed in 12.2% (24/196 sides) while that in the form of foramina was observed in 1.5% (3/196 sides). Major dehiscence was not observed in the current study. A statistically significant association was noted between presence of dehiscence and sex, with male skulls more likely to be dehiscent (p = 0.04).Conclusion: The ventral surface of the carotid canal is incomplete in approximately 15% of Kenyan skulls with a predilection for the male sex. Skull base surgeons should, therefore, exercise great caution in order to avoid inadvertent injury during invasive procedures.