While numerous studies exist quantifying the bone mineral content of the human lumber vertebrae, such information is not available for the cervical spine. This study determined the bone mineral densities of cervical vertebrae. Adult healthy human volunteers, ages ranging from 18 to 40 years, underwent quantitative computed tomography scanning of the neck. BMD data were divided according to subject weight (above and below 50th percentile, termed low and heavy mass) and gender. Low-mass subjects did not consistently have higher bone mineral density at all levels of the cervical column. Bone mineral were higher (259 ± 6 mg/cc) for females than males (247 ± 8 mg/cc); for the entire ensemble the mean density was 253 ± 9 mg/cc. Altered strength of cervical vertebrae coupled with the increased mobility of the disc at the inferior levels of the neck may explain regional biomechanical differences and subsequent physiologic effects secondary to aging. This study quantifies BMD of the human neck vertebrae and offers explanations to the biomechanical behaviors of the human cervical spine.

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