Racial and sex differences in timing of the cervical vertebrae maturation stages

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Our objective was to investigate skeletal maturation of female and male subjects from different racial groups by comparing the cervical vertebrae maturation (CVM) stages.


The study included 3 racial groups: white, African American, and Hispanic subjects. Each group was subdivided into female and male. The age range of the subjects was between 7 and 18 years. The sample included 60 lateral cephalographs for each subgroup. Skeletal maturation of the cervical vertebrae was assessed according to a method that described 6 CVM stages.


Racial differences were evident in the mean ages of CVM stages 2, 3, 4, and 5 (P = 0.002; P = 0.003; P = 0.001; and P = 0.001, respectively) among females; among males, only stage 3 was different (P = 0.001). Sex differences in the mean ages of stages 1, 2, and 3 in Hispanic subjects (P <0.001), and in stages 2 and 3 in African American subjects (P = 0.019 and P <0.001) and white subjects (P = 0.004 and P <0.001) were detected.


In both sexes, racial differences were not apparent between whites and African Americans, but differences were evident between Hispanics vs both whites and African Americans. Sex differences were apparent between the sexes in each of the 3 ethnic groups in CVM stages 2 and 3. No sex differences were detected in stages 4, 5, or 6 in any of the 3 racial groups. It is recommended to consider racial and sex differences when using the CVM stage as a skeletal maturation indicator.

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