MORPHOMETRY OF THE CERVICAL UNCINATE PROCESS AND ITS RELATION TO THE VERTEBRAL ARTERY IN A SELECT KENYAN POPULATION: A RADIOLOGICAL STUDY
Background: The cervical uncinate process (UP) is of clinical importance due to its proximity to vital neurovascular structures that are at risk of compression as well as iatrogenic injury during anterior cervical spine surgery. Despite this, there has been paucity of local data on the UP. This study therefore aimed to describe the morphometric features of the UP and its relation to the vertebral artery in a Kenyan population. Materials and Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at the Department of Radiology, Kenyatta National Hospital. One-hundred neck CT scan images were obtained and the following parameters analyzed using NeusoftTM software: the UP extents, height, width, angle of inclination as well as the uncovertebral artery distance.Results: The UP was observed caudally at C7 (100%), T1 (49%) and T2 (1%). Sex differences (p<0.05) were observed in all the parameters apart from height. Age related differences were observed in the height, width, angle of inclination and uncovertebral artery distance (p<0.05). Vertebral level differences (p<0.05) were observed in all the aforementioned parameters apart from width (p-value 0.191). All the parameters were observed to have side differences (p<0.05).Conclusion: The variations in the UP morphometry emphasize the utility of CT imaging of the UP in order to reduce the incidence of surgical complications as well as in diagnosis of related pathologies. The high prevalence of the UP at C7 level could explain the relatively low incidence of cervical disc herniation reported in the Kenyan population.