Variance of the position of the cerebellar tonsils with age: Preliminary report

D. J. Mikulis, Orlando M. Diaz, T. K. Egglin, R. Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


The position of the cerebellar tonsils relative to the foramen magnum was measured with sagittal magnetic resonance (MR) images in 221 patients aged 5 months to 89 years who were considered not to have disorders that would affect tonsillar position. All patients were grouped according to age. All measurements of the tonsils were obtained directly from the video console. Statistically significant (P < .05) differences in tonsillar position were found between the 1st and 9th decades (P < .001) and the 3rd and 9th decades (P < .003) of life. An obvious trend existed: tonsillar ascent with increasing age. Therefore, the authors believe that a single reference standard that indicates the normal distance of the cerebellar tonsils from the foramen magnum is inappropriate unless age is considered. They suggest that the following distances below the foramen magnum (more than 2 standard deviations out of the normal range) be used as criteria for ectopia of the cerebellar tonsils: 1st decade of life, 6 mm; 2nd and 3rd decades, 5 mm; 4th to 8th decades, 4 mm; and 9th decade, 3 mm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-728
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


  • Aging
  • Brain, MR
  • Brain, anatomy
  • Brain, growth and development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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