The styloid process (SP) arises from the temporal bone in front of the stylomastoid foramen. Many nerves and vessels are adjacent to the SP. The length of the SP is usually 2-3 cm; if it is longer than 3 cm, it is considered elongated. The elongated SP may compress adjacent neurovascular structures, and cause neck and cervicofacial pain. This study aims to determine the prevalence of SP elongation detected on digital panoramic radiographs in the south Indian population from the Chengalpet region and its relation to gender, age, sides and types. Digital panoramic radiographs of 1000 patients with an age ranging from 10 to 80 years were retrospectively obtained from a private dental college. The subjects were divided into six age subgroups: 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 years and older. The apparent length of the SP was measured from the point where it left the temporal bone to its tip. SP measuring more than 3 cm were considered to be elongated. The data were analyzed by using Student’s t-test and Chi-square test with a P value less than 0.05. The study findings reported that SP elongation was present in sixty-two (6.2%) patients. The prevalence of SP elongation in males was slightly higher than in females. In males, there was a statistically significant difference found between age groups. The prevalence of SP elongation was increased as the age increased. The most frequently observed type of elongation was the type I elongation. The digital panoramic radiographs are an economical, easily accessible and useful diagnostic tool for early detection of SP elongation. It was found that the elongated SP is an anatomical variation, which must be taken into account by practitioners while treating the patients with head and neck pain.
Krishnaeswari Veluchamy1, D.H. Gopalan2, Murali Punniakotti3, M. Vani1
1 Department of Anatomy, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Palayanoor, Madhurathagam, Tamilnadu - 603308. India
2 Department of Anatomy, Tagore Medical College and Hospital, Chennai – 600 127, India
3 Department of Anatomy, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai – 603 203, India