Anterior longitudinal ligament
Anterior longitudinal ligament Definition
The Anterior longitudinal ligament is a thick band or ligament passing down the Spine's anterior surface, and passes over all the intervertebral discs and vertebral bodies along the entire length of the spinal column. It belongs to the group Vertebral ligaments.
It is known as Ligamentum longitudinale anterius in Latin and as Ligament longitudinal antérieur in French.
Anterior longitudinal ligament Anatomy
This is a thick ligament, which is a bit wider but thinner over the intervertebral discs and a little narrower over the vertebral bodies. This is a lot less prominent than in the posterior longitudinal ligament.
It consists of 3 layers:
It runs all along the spine to the sacrum from the skull base.
Anterior longitudinal ligament Functions
It reinforces the intervertebral disc and reduces the extension of the spinal column. The ligament joins the front part of the annulus fibrosis to the anterior section of the vertebral body. It is around 1-inch in width, and helps stabilize the spine.
Anterior longitudinal ligament Injury
The Anterior longitudinal ligament can stretch excessively or even suffer a tear, when the head snaps ahead and back again, thereby resulting in a whiplash injury.
Upon diagnosis, patients show focal tenderness and display reduced mobility. Treatment aims at offering relief from pain. In case chronic pain lasts after conservative treatment for quite a few week, Laminotomy - a minimally invasive procedure - can be used on an outpatient basis to achieve spinal nerves decompression and reduce the discomfort.
Anterior longitudinal ligament Calcification
Other than the severe sprains in the ligament, patients can also suffer from Calcification of the Anterior longitudinal ligament at a later stage in life. Anterior longitudinal ligament Calcification is experienced by most people at some stage in later life. The calcification leads to prominent reduction in flexibility, and may result in chronic pain when there is constriction or irritation of the spinal cord or the spinal nerve due to deterioration.
Ossification of Anterior longitudinal ligament
The Ossification of the anterior longitudinal ligament (OALL) is also known as Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) or Forestier's disease, and is marked by anterior bridging osteophytes due to an unknown cause. The condition may lead to acute airway obstruction, dysphonia, dyspnea and dysphagia.
It is generally asymptomatic, although the disease can worsen with age. It mainly affects older men. Due to cervical osteophytes, there can be problems like sleep apnea, acute respiratory compromise, dysphagia or issues with gastric and/or tracheal intubation. Tracheal intubation, according to Anesthesiologists, can be difficult for OALL patients. Naturally, careful consideration is needed for airway management and pre-surgical evaluation.
Anterior longitudinal ligament Pictures
The following Anterior longitudinal ligament images and diagrams show how the structure looks like.
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