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Introduction:
The atlas bone is the first cervical vertebra or C1 (atlas or vertebra cervicalis I), and it supports the skull.

The name of the bone is derived from a deity of Greek mythology called Atlas, who supported the heavens.

On the superior surface of the atlas vertebra are a pair of concave facets, which articulate with rounded condyles that project form the inferior aspect of the occipital bone. The shape of the joint allows the head to nod back and forth.

A pair of flattened facets on the inferior surface of the atlas vertebra articulate with flattened facets on the axis bone (C2) located below. This junction allows the head to move side-to-side.

Superior Bone Markings:
(Massa lateralis atlantis) - the thickest part of the atlas bone. This sturdy region supports the weight of the skull.
(Facies articularis superior) - a prominent, oval-shaped, concave structure located on the superior aspect of the lateral mass. It articulates with the occipital condyle of the skull above.
(Processus transversus) - a prominent lateral projection from the lateral mass, which serves as an attacment site for muscles that move the head and neck.
(Foramen transversarium) - a hole in the transverse process that serves as a passageway for the vertebral artery and vein.
(Foramen vertebrale) - a large opening in the center of the bone through which the spinal cord passes.
(Arcus anterior atlantis ) - a narrow band of bone that extends from the transverse processes and encloses the anterior portion of the vertebral foramen.
(Tuberculum anterius atlantis ) - a slight elevation at the apex of the anterior arch, which serves as an attachment point for the longus coli muscles.
(Arcus posterior atlantis ) - a narrow band of bone that extends from the transverse processes and encloses the posterior portion of the vertebral foramen.
(Tuberculum posterius atlantis) - a slight elevation at the apex of the posterior arch. It is an attachment site for the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle.
Inferior Bone Markings:
(Massa lateralis atlantis) - the thickest part of the atlas bone. This sturdy region supports the weight of the skull.
(Facies articularis inferior) - a flattened articular surface located on the inferior aspect of the lateral mass. It articulates with the superior articular facet on the axis vertebra (C2) below.
(Processus transversus) - a prominent lateral projection from the lateral mass, which serves as an attacment site for muscles that move the head and neck.
(Foramen transversarium) - a hole in the transverse process that serves as a passageway for the vertebral artery and vein.
(Arcus anterior atlantis ) - a narrow band of bone that extends from the transverse processes and encloses the anterior portion of the vertebral foramen.
(Tuberculum anterius atlantis ) - a slight elevation at the apex of the anterior arch, which serves as an attachment point for the longus coli muscles.
(Arcus posterior atlantis ) - a narrow band of bone that extends from the transverse processes and encloses the posterior portion of the vertebral foramen.
(Tuberculum posterius atlantis) - a slight elevation at the apex of the posterior arch. It is an attachment site for the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle.
Review Bone Markings:

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Atlas Vertebrae