Anterior longitudinal ligament

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Aaron Wong et al.

The anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) arises from the anteroinferior basilar portion of occipital bone, traverses the entire length of the spine, and ends on the anteriosuperior portion of the sacrum.

The ALL runs along the anterior surface of the vertebral bodies (firmly united to the periosteum) and intervertebral discs (attaching to the anterior annulus).

Can be divided into three distinct layers 2,3.

  • superficial: traverses 3-4 vertebrae
  • intermediate: covers 2-3 vertebrae
  • deep
    • between individual vertebrae, and either blends into the periosteum or inserts anteriorly
    • it is typically the first ALL layer affected in DISH 4

It broadens as it descends, unlike the posterior longitudinal ligament which narrows as it descends. Superiorly, it blends with the anterior atlanto-occipital membrane.

It prevents excessive extension of the spine.

Anatomy: Spine
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Article information

rID: 36568
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL)
  • Anterior longitudinal ligaments

Cases and figures

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    Ligaments of the ...
    Figure 1
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