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Clinical Note
July 19, 2010

Unexplained Extensive Skull Base and Atlas Pneumatization: Computed Tomographic Findings

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Neuroradiology, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal (Dr Moreira); and Department of Radiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York University, New York, New York (Dr Som).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;136(7):731-733. doi:10.1001/archoto.2010.108

Pneumatization of the mastoid and petrous portions of the temporal bones begins late in fetal life, accelerates near and immediately after birth, and continues through infancy, early childhood, and, occasionally, early adult life. This pneumatization can vary greatly, and in cases of well-pneumatized temporal bones, accessory occipital air cells may occur and communicate with the mastoid air cells and middle ear. Other accessory sites of air cell pneumatization include the zygomatic process, squamosal region, and styloid process of the temporal bone.1 Pneumatization of the occipital bone, including the craniocervical junction, is rare and, to our knowledge, has previously been reported only 10 times.2-10 In 4 of those cases,2,7,8 there was a history of trauma.

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