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Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 0004-282X


PIMENTA, Newton José Godoy; GUSMAO, Sebastião Silva  and  KEHRLI, Pierre. Posterior atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial area and its surgical interest. Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. [online]. 2014, vol.72, n.10, pp.788-792. ISSN 0004-282X.

Classic anatomical studies describe two membranes – atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial in the posterior aspect of the craniocervical region. During many surgical procedures in this area, however, we have not found such membranes.


To clarify the anatomical aspects and structures taking part of the posterior atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial area.


Analysis of histological cuts of three human fetuses and anatomical studies of 8 adult human cadavers.


In both atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial areas, we have observed attachment between suboccipital deep muscles and the spinal cervical dura. However, anatomical description of such attachments could not be found in textbooks of anatomy.


Our study shows the absence of the classical atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial membranes; the occipito-C1 and C1-C2 posterior intervals are an open area, allowing aponeurotic attachment among cervical dura mater and posterior cervical muscles.

Keywords : posterior atlanto-occipital membrane; atlanto-axial area; neurosurgery.

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