Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 290
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
capsules lined by synovial membranes; while the laminæ, spinous and transverse processes are connected by the following ligaments:
The Ligamenta Flava.
The Ligamentum Nuchæ.
The Supraspinal.
The Interspinal.
The Intertransverse.

The Articular Capsules (capsulæ articulares; capsular ligaments) (Fig. 301).—The articular capsules are thin and loose, and are attached to the margins of the articular processes of adjacent vertebræ. They are longer and looser in the cervical than in the thoracic and lumbar regions.

The Ligamenta Flava (ligamenta subflava, Fig. 303).—The ligamenta flava connect the laminæ of adjacent vertebræ, from the axis to the first segment of the sacrum. They are best seen from the interior of the vertebral canal; when looked at from the outer surface they appear short, being overlapped by the laminæ. Each ligament consists of two lateral portions which commence one on either side of the roots of the articular processes, and extend backward to the point where the laminæ meet to form the spinous process; the posterior margins of the two portions are in contact and to a certain extent united, slight intervals being left for the passage of small vessels. Each consists of yellow elastic tissue, the fibers of which, almost perpendicular in direction, are attached to the anterior surface of the lamina above, some distance from its inferior margin, and to the posterior surface and upper margin of the lamina below. In the cervical region the ligaments are thin, but broad and long; they are thicker in the thoracic region, and thickest in the lumbar region. Their marked elasticity serves to preserve the upright posture, and to assist the vertebral column in resuming it after flexion.

FIG. 303– Vertebral arches of three thoracic vertebræ viewed from the front. (See enlarged image)

The Supraspinal Ligament (ligamentum supraspinale; supraspinous ligament) (Fig. 301).—The supraspinal ligament is a strong fibrous cord, which connects together the apices of the spinous processes from the seventh cervical vertebra to the sacrum; at the points of attachment to the tips of the spinous processes fibrocartilage is developed in the ligament. It is thicker and broader in the lumbar than in the thoracic region, and intimately blended, in both situations, with the neighboring fascia. The most superficial fibers of this ligament extend over three or four vertebræ; those more deeply seated pass between two or three vertebræ while the deepest connect the spinous processes of neighboring vertebræ. Between the spinous processes it is continuous with the interspinal ligaments. It is continued upward to the external occipital protuberance and median nuchal line, as the ligamentum nuchæ.

The Ligamentum Nuchæ.—The ligamentum nuchæ 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 vertebræ, and forms a septum between the muscles


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