Arcuate foramen

The arcuate foramen (foramen arcuate atlantis, ponticulus posticus or posterior ponticle, or Kimerle anomaly) is a frequently encountered normal variant of the atlas and is easily appreciated on a lateral plain film of the craniocervical junction.

Incidence is ~8% (range 1-15%) and it is more common in females. 

The arcuate foramen develops by calcification of the posterior atlanto-occipital membrane. The atlantic portion (V3) of the vertebral arteries pass through this foramen. It has a variable morphology, can be complete or incomplete and may be unilateral or bilateral.

  • complete or incomplete bony arch is seen over the posterosuperior aspect of the atlas on lateral projections
Anatomy: Spine
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Article information

rID: 16413
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Foramen arcuale atlantis
  • Ponticulus posticus
  • Arcuate foramena
  • Posterior ponticle
  • Kimerle anomaly

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 1
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  •  Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5: unilateral
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  • Case 8
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