Background: Differentiating jugular foramen from hypoglossal canal in computed tomography (CT) scan is vital for correct diagnosis of posterior fossa pathologies; however, it has been shown that the ability for differentiating these skull base elements is limited. The purpose of this study was to produce a simple algorithm for differentiating the jugular foramen from the hypoglossal canal in axial CT scan on two levels (top level where bony carotid canal is evident and lower level where bony carotid canal is not evident). Methods: Data derived from axial CT scan of 250 patients (500 sides) were used for producing algorithm. At top level petro-occipital fissure utilized for recognizing occipital condyle in which hypoglossal canal is located; and, at lower level the distance between the posterior border of the anatomic element (jugular foramen or hypoglossal canal) and the tangent to the anterior bony part is used for producing algorithm. Results: The mean age of patients was 38.1 ± 19 years. The petro-occipital fissure can be used in all patients for differentiating hypoglossal canal. At lower level the distance between the anterior tangent and the posterior border of the element was significantly lower for hypoglossal canal (P value < 0.001). The distance more than 3.5 millimeters with sensitivity 83.8% and specificity 97.1% differentiate jugular foramen from hypoglossal canal. Conclusion: Simple algorithms based on quantitative morphologic features of the jugular foramen and hypoglossal canal can be used with high sensitivity and specificity to distinguish these elements.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.