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Alar ligament

Recommended video: Cervical spine [10:16]
Bones, ligaments and joints of the cervical spine.

The alar ligaments are short round ligaments that originate on the dens axis (C2) (odontoid process) and attach onto the medial parts of the occipital condyles. They are part of the stabilisers of the craniovertebral joints.

The craniovertebral joints include the atlantoaxial and the atlantooccipital joint and various ligaments stabilise these joints. 

The alar ligaments are paired ligaments that prevent excessive rotation at the joints. They limit axial rotation and lateral flexion on the contralateral side. It is also important to note that these ligaments have been reported to have many anatomical variations. 

Terminology English: alar ligament
Latin: ligamenta alaria
Location Between the dens axis (C2) and occipital condyles
Function Prevent excessive rotation at craniovertebral joints

Learn more about the alar ligament in this study unit:

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