The ligamentum nuchae is a large median ligament composed of tendons and fascia located between the posterior muscles of the neck. It covers the spines of C1 to C6 vertebrae. While it has been thought of as a rudiment of evolution, the ligamentum nuchae may contribute to stability in this area.
The ligamentum nuchae consists of the dorsal raphe and medial septal parts. The dorsal raphe attaches to muscles while the medial septum does not.
The dorsal raphe is superficial to the posterior midline of the neck. It extends from the occipital protuberance to the spinous process of the C7 vertebra. The superior portion consists of medial fibres from the cervical trapezius. The inferior portion consists of interweaving tendons from splenius capitis and rhomboid minor.
The medial septum extends from the ventral surface of the dorsal raphe. The medial septum isolates the semispinalis capitis ventrally and laterally. Thus, the semispinalis cervicis, multifidus and opposite semispinalis capitis remain separate.
The medial septum runs deep into the vertebral column. It reaches depths as far as the ligamentum flavum. The medial septum blends into the posterior atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial membranes. It is attached to the posterior dura mater along these membranes.
Superiorly, it is attached to the external occipital crest and posterior tubercle of the atlas.
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- cervical spine
- thoracic spine
- lumbar spine
- vertebral body
- neural arch
- transitional vertebrae
- ossification centres
- intervertebral disc
- anterior longitudinal ligament
- posterior longitudinal ligament
- posterior ligamentous complex
- cervical spine ligaments
- iliolumbar ligament
- musculature of the vertebral column
- muscles of the neck
- muscles of the back
- gross anatomy
- white matter tracts
- anterolateral columns
- lateral columns
- dorsal columns
- gray matter
- nerve root
- spinal meninges and spaces
- functional anatomy
- spinal cord blood supply
- vascular supply