Magnetic resonance imaging atlas of the cervical spine musculature

John Au, Diana M. Perriman, Mark R. Pickering, Graham Buirski, Paul N. Smith, Alexandra L. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The anatomy of the cervical spine musculature visible on magnetic resonance (MR) images is poorly described in the literature. However, the correct identification of individual muscles is clinically important because certain conditions of the cervical spine, for example whiplash associated disorders, idiopathic neck pain, cervical nerve root avulsion and cervical spondylotic myelopathy, are associated with different morphological changes in specific muscles visible on MR images. Knowledge of the precise structure of different cervical spine muscles is crucial when comparisons with the contralateral side or with normal are required for accurate description of imaging pathology, management and assessment of treatment efficacy. However, learning the intricate arrangement of 27 muscles is challenging. A multi-level cross-sectional depiction combined with three-dimensional reconstructions could facilitate the understanding of this anatomically complex area. This paper presents a comprehensive series of labeled axial MR images from one individual and serves as a reference atlas of the cervical spine musculature to guide clinicians, researchers, and anatomists in the accurate identification of these muscles on MR imaging. Clin. Anat. 29:643–659, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-659
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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