Cervical vertebral maturation: An objective and transparent code staging system applied to a 6-year longitudinal investigation

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To date, little information is available regarding individual cervical vertebral maturation (CVM) morphologic changes. Moreover, contrasting results regarding the repeatability of the CVM method call for the use of objective and transparent reporting procedures. In this study, we used a rigorous morphometric objective CVM code staging system, called the “CVM code” that was applied to a 6-year longitudinal circumpubertal analysis of individual CVM morphologic changes to find cases outside the reported norms and analyze individual maturation processes.


From the files of the Oregon Growth Study, 32 subjects (17 boys, 15 girls) with 6 annual lateral cephalograms taken from 10 to 16 years of age were included, for a total of 221 recordings. A customized cephalometric analysis was used, and each recording was converted into a CVM code according to the concavities of cervical vertebrae (C) C2 through C4 and the shapes of C3 and C4. The retrieved CVM codes, either falling within the reported norms (regular cases) or not (exception cases), were also converted into the CVM stages.


Overall, 31 exception cases (14%) were seen. with most of them accounting for pubertal CVM stage 4. The overall durations of the CVM stages 2 to 4 were about 1 year, even though only 4 subjects had regular annual durations of CVM stages 2 to 5.


Whereas the overall CVM changes are consistent with previous reports, intersubject variability must be considered when dealing with individual treatment timing. Future research on CVM may take advantage of the CVM code system.

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