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Keywords:

  • obliquus capitis inferior;
  • myodural bridge;
  • atlantoaxial interspace;
  • cervical dura mater

Abstract

This study was designed to examine the obliquus capitis inferior (OCI) muscle from a gross anatomical perspective. The objective was to isolate and identify the OCI myodural bridge, while examining its course and contributing elements. An earlier study of the posterior cervical spine briefly reported a connection between the OCI and the cervical dura mater. To the best of our knowledge, a study has not yet been conducted specifically on this muscle and its relation to the dura mater. In this study, the suboccipital regions of nine embalmed cadavers were dissected. A total of 14 OCI muscles were isolated for examination. All findings were documented via photograph. Of the 14 OCI muscles isolated, all emitted fibrous tissue bands from the anterolateral portion of the muscular belly. These fibers attached to the posterolateral cervical dura mater by route of the atlantoaxial interspace. The OCI myodural bridge appeared to coalesce with the rectus capitis posterior major myodural bridge, giving the appearance of a single atlantoaxial structure that links these two muscles to the dura mater. In conclusion, the OCI was attached to the dura mater in all of the 14 muscle specimens. We hypothesize that the OCI myodural bridge may play a physiological role in monitoring dural tension and preventing dural infolding. It may also contribute to certain clinical symptoms manifesting from alterations in dural tone. Clin. Anat. 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.