Suboccipital Region and Vertebral Canal: Learning Objectives and Review Questions


  1. The vertebral foramen transmits the spinal nerve from the spinal canal to the paravertebral region.
  2. The spinal canal has both bony and fibrous boundaries.
  3. The ligamentum flavum is named for its yellow appearance.
  4. The obliques capitis inferior rotates the head to the opposite side.
  5. The rectus capitis posterior major flexes the neck.
  6. There are 7 cervical nerves and 8 cervical vertebrae.
  7. Obliques capitis superior rotates the head to the same side.
  8. The suboccipital nerve enters the back inferior to the occipital bone and superior to the atlas.
  9. At the superior nuchal line the greater occipital nerve is medial to the occipital artery.
  10. The nuchal ligament limits flexion of the neck.
  11. A lesion of the suboccipital nerve would make extension of the neck impossible.
  12. A lesion of the occipital nerve would cause paresthesia or anesthesia of the scapular region.
  13. The ligamentum flavum extends between adjacent lamina.
  14. The interspinous ligament extends between adjacent pedicles.
  15. Cerebral spinal fluid is located immediately deep to ligamentum flavum, between it and dura mater.
  16. Spinal nerves can be anesthetized by injections into the epidural space.
  17. The posterior longitudinal ligament has lateral extensions that help to reinforce the intervertebral disk.
  18. The nuchal ligament can be considered an extension of the supraspinous ligament into the neck region.
  19. The vertebral artery lies on the superior surface of the transverse process of the axis in the groove for the vertebral artery.
  20. The vertebral artery leaves the suboccipital triangle as it passes through the posterior atlantooccipital membrane.
  21. The greater occipital enters the back inferior to the obliques capitis inferior muscle.
  22. From superficial to deep the greater occipital nerve passes through trapezius, then semispinalis capitis, and finally, splenius capitis.

Short Answer and Definitions

  1. Denticulate Ligament
  2. Posterior Longitudinal Ligament
  3. Anterior Longitudinal Ligament
  4. Interspinous Ligament
  5. Supraspinous Ligament
  6. Nuchal Ligament


  1. Discuss the stabilization of the vertebral column.
  2. Discuss the contents, structure, relationships, innervation (sensory and motor), vasculature, and lymphatics of the vertebral canal.
  3. Discuss the structure, relationships, innervation (sensory and motor), vasculature, and lymphatics of the intervertebral disc.
  4. Discuss the contents, structure, relationships, innervation (sensory and motor), vasculature, and lymphatics of the suboccipital triangle.
  5. Discuss the location and fascial barriers penetrated by lumbar puncture.
  6. Discuss the arterial augmentation to the spinal cord.
  7. Discuss the internal and external vertebral plexuses in relation to the spread of infection or metastatic disease.
  8. Discuss the stabilization of the spinal cord within the spinal canal.

-- WikiGuest - 26 May 2020
Topic revision: r5 - 13 Jun 2019, LorenEvey
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