The ligamentum nuchae is a ligament that forms a strong, fibrous median partition between the muscles
of the two sides of the back of the neck. It
represents a powerful elastic structure in quadrupeds which helps to sustain
the weight of the dependent head. In humans, however, there is not much
elastic tissue in it, and it appears to be a continuation upwards of the
supraspinous ligament from the spine of the seventh cervical vertebra to
the external occipital protuberance. In shape, it is nearly triangular.
By its base it is attached to the external occipital crest; by its anterior
border it is fixed by a series of slips to the posterior tubercle of the
atlas and to the spines of the other cervical
vertebrae. Its apex is attached to the spine of the seventh cervical
vertebra; and its posterior border gives origin to muscles.
|Ligamentum nuchae and the vertebral
artery in the neck