Ligamentum flavum

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Aaron Wong et al.

The ligamentum flavum is a paired ligament which runs between adjacent laminae of the vertebral bodies. It forms part of the posterior ligamentous complex of the vertebral column.

  • paired, yellowish, elastic ligament
  • forms part of the posterior border of the spinal canal
  • relatively thin in the cervical spine to progressively become thickest in the lumbar spine
  • broad base along the lamina from the facet joints to base of the spinous process
  • attaches from the front of the upper lamina to the back of the lower lamina
  • in the lumbar region, it runs laterally, covering the anterior aspect of the facet joints
  • anterolateral: intervertebral foramen and contents (spinal nerve roots, segmental arteries, recurrent mengingeal nerves, communicating veins between internal and external venous plexus)
  • anteromedial: spinal cord and meninges
  • posterolateral: lamina, facet joints
  • posteromedial: spinous process, interspinous ligament, venous connection between internal and external vertebral venous plexuses
  • superficial: medial branch of dorsal roots of spinal nerves
  • deep: sinuvertebral nerves (recurrent meningeal nerves)

'Flavum' is Latin for 'yellow', referring to the colour of the ligament.

Spinal anatomy
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Article information

rID: 36588
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Ligamentum flavum (LF)
  • Ligamenta flava

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