Surgical anatomy of the longus colli muscle and uncinate process in the cervical spine

Moon Soo Park, Seong Hwan Moon, Tae Hwan Kim, Jae Keun Oh, Hyung Joon Kim, Kun Tae Park, K. Daniel Riew

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: There have been a few previous reports regarding the distances between the medial borders of the longus colli to expose the disc space. However, to our knowledge, there are no reports concerning longus colli dissection to expose the uncinate processes. This study was undertaken to assess the surgical relationship between the longus colli muscle and the uncinate process in the cervical spine. Materials and Methods: This study included 120 Korean patients randomly selected from 333 who had cervical spine MRIs and CTs from January 2003 to October 2013. They consisted of 60 males and 60 females. Each group was subdivided into six groups by age from 20 to 70 years or more. We measured three parameters on MRIs from C3 to T1: left and right longus colli distance and inter-longus colli distance. We also measured three parameters on CT: left and right uncinate distance and inter-uncinate distance. Results: The longus colli distances, uncinate distances, and inter-uncinate distances increased from C3 to T1. The inter-longus colli distances increased from C3 to C7. There was no difference in longus colli distances and uncinate distances between males and females. There was no difference in the six parameters for the different age groups. Conclusion: Although approximate guidelines, we recommend the longus colli be dissected approximately 5 mm at C3–5, 6 mm at C5–6, 7 mm at C6–7, and 8 mm at C7–T1 to expose the uncinate process to its lateral edge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-972
Number of pages5
JournalYonsei medical journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2016.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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