Spinolaminar line test as a screening tool for C1 stenosis

Yasushi Oshima, Michael P. Kelly, Kwang Sup Song, Moon Soo Park, Tapanut Chuntarapas, Katie D. Vo, Jin S. Yeom, Katsushi Takeshita, K. Daniel Riew

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7 Scopus citations


Study Design Retrospective cohort. Objective To clarify the sensitivity of C3-C2 spinolaminar line test as a screening tool for the stenosis of C1 space available for the cord (SAC). Methods Spine clinic records from April 2005 to August 2011 were reviewed. The C1 SAC was measured on lateral radiographs, and the relative positions between a C1 posterior arch and the C3-C2 spinolaminar line were examined and considered "positive" when the C1 ring lay ventral to the line. Computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were utilized to measure precise diameters of C1 and C2 SAC and to check the existence of spinal cord compression. Results Four hundred eighty-seven patients were included in this study. There were 246 men and 241 women, with an average age of 53 years (range: 18 to 86). The mean SAC at C1 on radiographs was 21.2 mm (range: 13.5 to 28.2). Twenty-one patients (4.3%) were positive for the spinolaminar line test; all of these patients had C1 SAC of 19.4 mm or less. Eight patients (1.6%) had C1 SAC smaller than C2 on CT examination; all of these patients had a positive spinolaminar test, with high sensitivity (100%) and specificity (97%). MRI analysis revealed that two of the eight patients with a smaller C1 SAC had spinal cord compression at the C1 level. Conclusion Although spinal cord compression at the level of atlas without instability is a rare condition, the spinolaminar line can be used as a screening of C1 stenosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-374
Number of pages5
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Atlas
  • Screening
  • Space available for the cord
  • Spinolaminar line test
  • Stenosis


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