Novel Radiographic Assessment of the Cribriform Plate

Kimia G. Ganjaei, Zachary M. Soler, Elliott D. Mappus, Robert J. Taylor, Mitchell L. Worley, Jennifer K. Mulligan, Jose L. Mattos, Nicholas R. Rowan, Guilherme J.M. Garcia, Judy R. Dubno, Mark A. Eckert, Lois J. Matthews, Rodney J. Schlosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The cribriform plate (CP) is a common site of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid (SCSF) leaks. Radiographic assessment of the anterior and lateral skull base has shown thinner bone in patients with SCSFs; however, prior assessment of the CP has required postmortem cadaver dissection. Objective: To develop novel radiographic techniques to assess the anatomy of the CP. Methods: Computed tomography (CT) scans were performed on cadaveric specimens. Bone density and anatomy of a predefined volume of interest of the posterior CP were assessed by two independent reviewers. CT assessment of olfactory foramina was also performed and validated using anatomic dissection of cadaver specimens. Results: Interclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for measuring the same volume of each CP was 0.96, confirming reproducible anatomic localization. Cadaver CPs had a mean Hounsfield units of 263, indicating a mix of bone and soft tissue, and ICC was 0.98, confirming reproducible radiographic measurements. Optimal CT estimates of bone composition of CPs averaged 85% (range 76% to 96%) compared to actual anatomic dissection which averaged 84% bone (range 74% to 91%, r =.690, P =.026). Conclusion: Our novel, noninvasive CT method for assessing CP anatomy is reproducible and correlates with anatomic dissection assessing bone composition. The clinical implications of anatomic changes in the CP are an area for further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
StateAccepted/In press - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • anatomy
  • bone density
  • cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • computed tomography
  • craniofacial
  • cribriform plate
  • encephalocele
  • ethmoid bone
  • olfactory foramina
  • skull base

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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