Gerber's Ligament-A Forgotten Structure of the Craniocervical Junction.

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Publication Date


Publication Title

World Neurosurg


Accessory band; Anatomy; Craniocervical junction; Cruciform ligament; Transverse ligament


BACKGROUND: Ligaments of the craniocervical junction play a critical role in stabilizing this region. Gerber's ligament has more or less been forgotten and, to our knowledge, never studied.

METHODS: Dissection of the craniocervical junction was performed in 15 fresh frozen cadavers. In the prone position, the posterior elements of the upper cervical vertebrae and occiput were removed. After removing the contents of the spinal canal and posterior cranial fossa, the dura mater and tectorial membrane were reflected. The superior band of the cruciform ligament was reflected. When Gerber's ligament was identified, its attachments and morphometry were recorded. Lastly, Gerber's ligament was observed while range of motion of the craniocervical junction was performed.

RESULTS: Gerber's ligament was identified in 7 specimens (46.7%). This structure arose anteriorly from the junction of the superior band and transverse part of the cruciform ligament. Gerber's ligament was always found to be just deep to the superior band of the cruciform ligament but traveled more anteriorly to attach onto the posterior aspect of the dens approaching, but not attaching onto, its apex. Mean length was 11 mm, and mean width was 7 mm. Thickness of the ligament was 0.5-1.1 mm. The ligament was found to become taut with minimal rotation of the atlantoaxial joint and extension of the craniocervical junction.

CONCLUSIONS: A good understanding of all ligaments of the craniocervical junction is important to surgeons and physicians treating patients with injury to the upper cervical spine.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)




Pathology & Laboratory Medicine