Rectus capitis anterior muscle

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 21 Nov 2022

The rectus capitis anterior muscle is a short muscle that belongs to the prevertebral and anterior neck muscles. It is located anterior to the vertebral column and stretches between the atlas and the base of the skull.

The rectus capitis anterior muscle originates from the anterior surface of the lateral mass and transverse process of the atlas (C1).

The fibers of the rectus capitis anterior insert on the inferior surface of the basilar part of the occipital bone.

The rectus capitis anterior muscle receives arterial blood supply from the branches of the vertebral and ascending pharyngeal arteries. The former is a branch of the subclavian artery, while the latter is a branch of the external carotid artery.

The rectus capitis anterior is innervated by the branches arising from the loop between the anterior rami of the 1st and 2nd cervical spinal nerves (C1 - C2).

Upon contraction, the rectus capitis anterior muscle aids in flexion of the head at the atlanto-occipital joint.

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