Apical ligament

The apical ligament is a small ligament that joins the apex (tip) of the dens of C2 to the anterior margin (basion) of the foramen magnum. It is the weak, fibrous remnant of the notochord and does not contribute significantly to stability.

The more posterior alar and cruciate ligaments are stronger and therefore far more clinically significant. Anterior is the anterior atlanto-occipital membrane.

Variant anatomy

It may be absent in up to 20% 2.

Anatomy: Spine

Article information

rID: 36570
System: Spine
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Apical ligament: spine

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: atlantoaxial ligaments (apical ligament not shown)
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  • Figure 2: median atlanto-occipital and atlantoaxial joints (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 3: C0-1-2 ligaments (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 4: annotated image
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