Indian Journal of Radiology Indian Journal of Radiology  

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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 261-265
Evaluation of the styloid process on digital panoramic radiographs

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, K. M. Shah Dental College and Hospital, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth University, Piparia, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Mukesh K Asrani
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, K. M. Shah Dental College and Hospital, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth University, Piparia, Vadodara - 391 760, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-3026.73537

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Background: The styloid process is an anatomical structure, whose clinical importance is not well understood. Proper clinical and radiographic evaluation can detect an elongated styloid process and calcification of the stylohyoid ligament. It has been reported that 2 - 28% of the general population show radiographic evidence of mineralization of a portion of the stylohyoid chain. The elongated styloid process may be symptomatic in many cases. Panoramic radiography is the best imaging modality to view the styloid process bilaterally. Aim: To assess the styloid process on digital panoramic radiographs. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted on 500 digital panoramic radiographs available in the archives of our department as soft copies. These radiographs were taken using a digital panoramic system. The radiographic length of the styloid process was measured on both sides using the measurement toolbars on the accompanying analysis software. For statistical analysis we used the unpaired t test, Chi-square test, and one-way ANOVA test, as necessary. Results: The average length of the left styloid was 25.41 ± 6.32 mm and that of the right styloid was 25.53 ± 6.62 mm. The length of both styloids increased with age and males had longer styloids than females. Elongated styloids were present in 19.4% of the panoramic radiographs. Langlais type I elongated styloids and a partial calcification pattern were more common than others. Conclusion: Panoramic radiography is useful for detection of an elongated styloid process and / or ossification of the stylohyoid ligament in patients with or without symptoms, and helps avoid a misdiagnosis of tonsillar pain or pain of dental, pharyngeal, or muscular origin.

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