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Suboccipital Deep Muscle Dissection

Surgical Correlation

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Posterior view of a superficial dissection of the upper neck. The trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles have been reflected to show the splenius capitis and semispinalis capitis muscles. The semispinalis capitis muscle courses deep to the splenius capitis and its fibers parallel the longitudinal axis of the neck. The white band in the midline of both muscles is the ligamentum nuchae (nuchal ligament). The greater occipital nerve, the dorsal ramus of C2, is shown piercing the semispinalis capitis on its way to supplying sensory innervation to the posterior half of the scalp. Also, a portion of the occipital artery can be seen on the surface of this muscle. It, too, supplies a portion of the scalp. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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