A comprehensive review of the clivus: anatomy, embryology, variants, pathology, and surgical approaches.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Child's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery


Anatomy; Clivus; Embryology; Notochord; Skull base; Surgery


INTRODUCTION: The clivus is a bony structure formed by the fusion of the basioccipital and basispheniod bone at the sphenooccipital synchondrosis. This downward sloping structure from the dorsum sellae to the foramen magnum is derived from mesoderm and ectoderm properties.

METHODS: This comprehensive review of the clivus will discuss its basic anatomy, embryology, pathological findings, and surgical implications. The clivus is an endochondral bone, formed under two processes; first, a cartilaginous base is developed, and it is secondly reabsorbed and replaced with bone. Knowledge of its embryological structure and growth of development will clarify the pathogenesis of anatomical variants and pathological findings of the clivus.

CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the anatomy including proximity to anatomical structures, adjacent neurovasculature properties, and anatomical variants will aid neurosurgeons in their surgical management when treating pathological findings around the clivus.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)


Pathology & Laboratory Medicine