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Papers of the Week

2023 Jan 13

Diagnostics (Basel)



Styloid Jugular Nutcracker: The Possible Role of the Styloid Process Spatial Orientation-A Preliminary Morphometric Computed Study.


Mantovani G, Zangrossi P, Flacco M E, Di Domenico G, Siniscalchi E N, De Ponte F S, Maugeri R, De Bonis P, Cavallo M A, Zamboni P, Scerrati A
Diagnostics (Basel). 2023 Jan 13; 13(2).
PMID: 36673108.


Styloid Jugular Nutcracker (SJN, also known as Eagle Jugular Syndrome EJS) derives from a jugular stenosis caused by an abnormal styloid process, compressing the vessel in its superior portion (J3) against the C1 anterior arch. It could be considered a venous vascular variant of Eagle Syndrome (ES). Main clinical features of this ES variant are headache, pulsatile tinnitus and dizziness, possibly related to venous hypertension and impaired cerebral parenchyma drainage. In our opinion, conceptually, it is not the absolute length of the styloid bone that defines its abnormality, but its spatial direction. An elongated bone pointing outward far away from the midline could not compress the vein; vice versa, a short styloid process tightly adherent to the cervical spine could be pathological. To prove this hypothesis, we developed a semi-automatic software that processes CT-Angio images, giving quantitative information about distance and direction of the styloid process in three-dimensional space. We compared eight patients with SJN to a sample of healthy subjects homogeneous for sex and age. Our results suggest that SJN patients have a more vertically directed styloid, and this feature is more important than the absolute distance between the two bony structures. More studies are needed to expand our sample, including patients with the classic and carotid variants of Eagle Syndrome.