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Posterior View of Cervical Spinal Cord

Surgical Correlation

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Posterior view of cervical spinal cord. Laminectomy of cervical vertebrae provides in situ view of the spinal cord and canal. Posterior (dorsal) roots of cervical spinal nerves emerge from the dorsolateral segments of the cervical cord. Distally, the cell bodies of these sensory neurons are contained within dorsal root (spinal) ganglia near intervertebral foramina. Along the lateral border of the spinal cord between dorsal and ventral roots, are longitudinal white glistening structures, the denticulate ligaments. These attach as tooth-like focal adhesions to the spinal dura to stabilize the cord within the dural sac. These ligaments represent consolidations of pia mater. The dorsal columns of the spinal cord convey somatosensory information from the body below the neck. In the cervical cord here, they are comprised of two separate tracts: the gracile and cuneate fasciculi. The gracile fasciculi represent the medial portion of the dorsal columns and carry somatosensory input from the lower trunk (T7 and below) and lower body. The cuneate fasciculi are located lateral to the gracile fasciculi and convey sensory input for the upper trunk (above T7), arms, and neck. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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