Comparing the left and right Whitnall's tubercles and their relation to the frontozygomatic suture: Application to symmetry following lateral orbital surgery

Fries FN, Youssef P, Irwin PA, Tubbs RI, Loukas M, Tubbs RS.Comparing the left and right Whitnall's tubercles and their relation to the frontozygomatic suture: Application to symmetry following lateral orbital surgery.Orbit. 2016 Sep 6:1-4.

ABSTRACT

We compare, on left and right side of human skulls, the length of Whitnall's tubercle as a relevant landmark and anchor point for the lateral retinaculum. Twenty human skulls were used in this study. A caliper was used to measure the length of Whitnall's tubercle, the distance from Whitnall's tubercle to the frontozygomatic suture and the height of the orbit. An overall mean for these three parameters was calculated using the data obtained. There were no significant differences between left and the right sides. The combined mean length of Whitnall's tubercle was 4.9 mm ± 23%. The combined mean distance from the frontozygomatic suture was 7.8 mm ± 25%. The orbital height was found to be the measurement with the highest congruence between the two sides having a combined mean of 32.3 mm ± 7%. Although 6 out of 20 skulls were found to have no tubercle, five out of twenty skulls had a tubercle only on one side. Even though human skulls develop from bilateral symmetric osteogenesis, surgeons should always be aware of possible asymmetry and possible absence of Whitnall's tubercle between sides or among individuals. The frontozygomatic suture was found to be a useful landmark in identifying the position of Whitnall's tubercle in the majority of specimens. Such information will be useful in realigning the lateral retinaculum following surgery.