OBJECTIVE: To determine the presence and morphology of the meningovertebral ligaments (ligaments of Hofmann) as well as postulate their possible contribution to low back pain.
DESIGN: Sagittal dissections were performed on 12 embalmed cadaver specimens including the L5/S1 intervertebral level cephalad to T1. Meningovertebral ligaments were labeled and documented in both the lumbar and thoracic regions.
RESULTS: Meningovertebral ligaments were found in both the lumbar and thoracic regions of all cadaveric specimens. These ligaments were much more prevalent in the lumbar vertebral column but were also present throughout the thoracic vertebral column. The meningovertebral ligaments in the lumbar region were more robust as well as more frequently encountered than those found in the thoracic region.
CONCLUSION: Dural sac attachments to the posterior aspect of the vertebral bodies and the posterior longitudinal ligament could act to traction the dural sac in the event of nuclear bulge or herniation. The prevalence of these ligaments in the lumbar spine, coupled with the high incidence of herniated nucleus pulposus and disc bulges in this region, may compound the effects of disc pathology and result in increased low back pain.
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