Surgical Relevance of the Lateral Costotransverse Ligament in Relation to the Dorsal Root Ganglion

Author Type(s)


Document Type


Publication Date

January 2018

Journal Title

Anatomical Science International




The lateral costotransverse ligament, a short band that stabilizes the costovertebral joint, is found in close proximity to the dorsal root ganglion. This ligament is an important surgical landmark during tumor resections or nerve blocks in the paravertebral space. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively and qualitatively describe the morphology of the lateral costotransverse ligament and its relation to the dorsal root ganglion at all levels of the thoracic spine. The thoracic spines of eight embalmed cadavers were dissected bilaterally. The length, width, and thickness of the ligament were measured. The distance from the inferolateral aspect of the ligament to the lateral aspect of the dorsal root ganglion was also measured. Three bilateral groups of lateral costotransverse ligaments, top (on ribs 1-2), middle (on ribs 3-10), and bottom (on ribs 11-12), were compared based on anatomic distinctions between the costotransverse joints, which can influence ligament morphology. Among the three groups, the differences between the length, width, and thickness were not statistically significant. However, the distance from the lateral costotransverse ligament to the dorsal root ganglion differed significantly (P = 0.000), with the middle group having the longest distance, and the bottom group having the shortest distance. This finding can help clinicians and surgeons avoid iatrogenic injuries of neural structures during thoracic spine surgery, or when performing nerve blocks in the paravertebral space.