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ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2018-08-24
Submitted: 2018-01-19
Accepted: 2018-03-07
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Incidence, number and topography of wormian bones in greek adult dry skulls

Konstantinos Natsis, Maria Piagkou, Nikolaos Lazaridis, Nikolaos Anastasopoulos, George Nousios, Giannoulis Piagkos, Marios Loukas
DOI: 10.5603/FM.a2018.0078
·
Pubmed: 30155873

open access

Ahead of Print
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2018-08-24
Submitted: 2018-01-19
Accepted: 2018-03-07

Abstract

Background: Wormian bones (WBs) are irregularly shaped bones formed from independent ossification centers found along cranial sutures and fontanelles. Their incidence varies among different populations and they constitute an anthropological marker. Precise mechanism of formation is unknown and being under the control of genetic background and environmental factors. The aim of the current study is to investigate the incidence of WBs’ presence, number and topographical distribution according to gender and side in Greek adult dry skulls.

Materials and Methods: All sutures and fontanelles of one hundred and sixty-six (166) Greek adult dry skulls were examined for the presence, topography and number of WBs. One hundred and nineteen intact and 47 horizontally craniotomized skulls were examined for WBs presence on either side of the cranium, both exocranially and intracranially.

Results: One hundred and twenty-four (74.7%) skulls had WBs. No difference was detected between the incidence of WBs, gender and age. Sutures and fontanelles located in neurocranium showed a higher incidence of WBs, contrariwise to orbital sutures that indicated a low incidence. WBs most commonly located in the lambdoid suture (44.6%), followed in order of frequency by the coronal suture (39.8%), asterion (21% on the left and 15.3% on the right side) and parietomastoid suture (15.1% on the left and 13.9% on the right side). Other sutures with WBs were the occipitomastoid, sagittal, squamosal, zygomaticosphenoid, metopic, frontonasal and frontozygomatic. Regarding the skull fontanelles, WBs were found at pterion, posterior and anterior fontanelles.

Conclusions: The current study highlights a high incidence of WBs in a Greek population, indicating racial variation. The in depth knowledge of exact location, frequency and number of WBs is essential for clinicians intervening in the skull area, anthropologists and forensic surgeons investigating child abuse cases.

Abstract

Background: Wormian bones (WBs) are irregularly shaped bones formed from independent ossification centers found along cranial sutures and fontanelles. Their incidence varies among different populations and they constitute an anthropological marker. Precise mechanism of formation is unknown and being under the control of genetic background and environmental factors. The aim of the current study is to investigate the incidence of WBs’ presence, number and topographical distribution according to gender and side in Greek adult dry skulls.

Materials and Methods: All sutures and fontanelles of one hundred and sixty-six (166) Greek adult dry skulls were examined for the presence, topography and number of WBs. One hundred and nineteen intact and 47 horizontally craniotomized skulls were examined for WBs presence on either side of the cranium, both exocranially and intracranially.

Results: One hundred and twenty-four (74.7%) skulls had WBs. No difference was detected between the incidence of WBs, gender and age. Sutures and fontanelles located in neurocranium showed a higher incidence of WBs, contrariwise to orbital sutures that indicated a low incidence. WBs most commonly located in the lambdoid suture (44.6%), followed in order of frequency by the coronal suture (39.8%), asterion (21% on the left and 15.3% on the right side) and parietomastoid suture (15.1% on the left and 13.9% on the right side). Other sutures with WBs were the occipitomastoid, sagittal, squamosal, zygomaticosphenoid, metopic, frontonasal and frontozygomatic. Regarding the skull fontanelles, WBs were found at pterion, posterior and anterior fontanelles.

Conclusions: The current study highlights a high incidence of WBs in a Greek population, indicating racial variation. The in depth knowledge of exact location, frequency and number of WBs is essential for clinicians intervening in the skull area, anthropologists and forensic surgeons investigating child abuse cases.

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Keywords

wormian bones, sutural bones, fontanelle, skull asymmetry, variation, syndrome, deformation

About this article
Title

Incidence, number and topography of wormian bones in greek adult dry skulls

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Ahead of Print

Published online

2018-08-24

DOI

10.5603/FM.a2018.0078

Pubmed

30155873

Keywords

wormian bones
sutural bones
fontanelle
skull asymmetry
variation
syndrome
deformation

Authors

Konstantinos Natsis
Maria Piagkou
Nikolaos Lazaridis
Nikolaos Anastasopoulos
George Nousios
Giannoulis Piagkos
Marios Loukas

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