Superior view of the clivus
Longitudinal section of the head and neck showing the anatomical relation of the dens (labeled odontoid process of axis). Clivus is the inferior part of the slope at top left, the upper part of the slope belongs to the sphenoid bone.
|Anatomical terms of bone|
The clivus (Latin for "slope") is a part of the cranium, a shallow depression behind the dorsum sellæ that slopes obliquely backward. It forms a gradual sloping process at the anterior most portion of the basilar occipital bone at its junction with the sphenoid bone. On axial planes, it sits just posterior to the sphenoid sinuses. Just lateral to the clivus bilaterally is the foramen lacerum (the internal carotid artery reaches the middle cranial fossa above the foramen lacerum), proximal to its anastamosis with the Circle of Willis. Posterior to the clivus is the basilar artery.
The pons sits on the clivus.
Relation of the clivus and dens
The clivus is an important landmark for checking for anatomical atlanto-occipital alignment; the clivus, when viewed on a lateral C-spine X-ray, forms a line which, if extended, is known as Wackenheim's clivus line. Wackenheim's clivus line should pass through the dens of the axis or be tangential to it.
- McKenna DA, Roche CJ, Lee KW, Torreggiani WC, Duddalwar VA. Atlanto-occipital dislocation: case report and discussion. Can J Emerg Med 2006; 8(1):50-3. Available at: link and link. Accessed on: December 7, 2006.
- Clivus at eMedicine Dictionary
- Anatomy photo:22:os-0913 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Osteology of the Skull: Internal Surface of Skull"
- Diagram at uwo.ca
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