Vol. 34, Nº 1

Anatomical and clinical relevance of elongated styloid process in a sample of the Colombian population


KEYWORDS: elongated styloid process, anatomical variation, human skull, eagle syndrome.

ABSTRACT: Introduction: The styloid process is a cone-shaped process of the temporal bone with a normal length of 20 to 30 mm. It is considered “elongated” when its length is greater than 30mm. A temporal styloid process with a length of 25mm or more may cause Eagle’s syndrome, a condition characterized by multiple clinical symptoms that can be explained by the anatomical relationships of the styloid process. The length of the styloid process depends on demographic variables such as race and geographical distribution; therefore normal patterns may vary among different populations. Due to its non-specific clinical manifestations, it would be relevant to know its prevalence in a specific population. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of styloid process elongation in a sample of the Colombian population. Material and Methods: The study was a cross?sectional, observational descriptive study. The length of 46 styloid processes from their origin to their vertex was determined in 46 hemifacial dissections. The corresponding right or left side of the head of the styloid process was also recorded. Results: The obtained average length of styloid processes was 35.1 ± 13.2 mm. 23 styloid processes (50%) measured over 30 mm, and 38 processes (82.6%) measured 25 mm or more. Conclusion: Since previous reports have shown that the onset of symptoms is variable and sometimes independent of the length of the styloid process, we suggest that the angulation of the styloid process is a clinical consideration as important as the length of the styloid process.