Nuchal ligament

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Ligament: Nuchal ligament
Posterior view of muscles connecting the upper extremity to the vertebral column. Nuchal ligament labeled in red at center.
Seventh cervical vertebra. (Spinous process visible at bottom.)
Latin ligamentum nuchae
Gray's subject #72 290
Dorlands/Elsevier l_09/12492708

The Nuchal ligament (Ligamentum Nuchae in latin) is a fibrous membrane, which, in the neck, represents the supraspinal ligaments of the lower vertebræ.

It extends from the external occipital protuberance and median nuchal line to the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra.

From its anterior border a fibrous lamina is given off, which is attached to the posterior tubercle of the atlas, and to the spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae, and forms a septum between the muscles on either side of the neck.

In humans it is merely the rudiment of an important elastic ligament, which, in some other animals, particularly ungulates, serves to sustain the weight of the head.

The Trapezius and Splenius capitis attach to the nuchal ligament.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

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