Double transverse foramen in cervical vertebrae in a Spanish rural population of the late 17th and 18th centuries

Laura Quiles-Guiñau, Azucena Gómez-Cabrero, Marcos Miquel-Feucht, Juan Alberto Sanchis-Gimeno


Double transverse foramen is an anatomical variant often observed in the inferior cervical rachis. It consists in the presence of the main transverse foramen and an accessory transverse foramen, which is smaller. Since the vertebral artery runs through the transverse foramen, this anatomical variant may suggest clinical considerations regarding the vertebral artery. In this context, our objective was to study the prevalence of double transverse foramen in a sample of 88 complete cervical sets of vertebrae dating from the late 17th and early 18th centuries and exhumed from a common grave in the “Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles” church, in Castielfabib (Ademuz, Valencia, Spain). We also wanted to analyze the possible correlation between the presence of double transverse foramen and the size of the main transverse foramen. The anteroposterior and lateral diameters of the transverse foramen and the accessory foramen were measured using digital calipers. Double transverse foramen was found in 96 (15.5%) cervical vertebrae, mostly in C6, but also in C4, C5 and C7. Our results show that double transverse foramen can cause the transverse foramen to be smaller when compared with normal vertebrae. Therefore, a thorough study should be performed to analyze the prevalence of double transverse foramen in the current population, as well as its clinical implications on the vertebral artery physiology.


spine; vertebral artery; cervical vertebrae; anatomical variation; 17th century; Spain

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