Entrapment of the C2 root and ganglion by the atlanto-epistrophic ligament: clinical syndrome and surgical anatomy

Neurosurgery. 1990 Aug;27(2):288-91. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199008000-00019.


Two cases of progressive, occipital lancinating pain and dysesthesias associated with a sensory deficit of the C2 dermatome are presented. Symptoms were relieved, and C2 sensory function restored by releasing a hypertrophied atlanto-epistrophic ligament entrapping the C2 root and ganglion. The normal anatomy and abnormal surgical findings are described. C2 entrapment by the atlanto-epistrophic ligament is discussed in reference to other C2 lesions causing occipital pain. We conclude that some patients whose progressive occipital pain is accompanied by a C2 sensory deficit are suffering from entrapment of the C2 root and ganglion amenable to surgical decompression.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Spinal / pathology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Ligaments, Articular / pathology*
  • Male
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / etiology
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / pathology
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / surgery*
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / pathology
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / surgery*
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications