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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 238748, 5 pages
Case Report

Ossification of Transverse Ligament of Atlas Causing Cervical Myelopathy: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tohoku Rosai Hospital, 4-3-21 Dainohara, Aoba-ku, Sendai 981-8563, Japan

Received 13 October 2010; Accepted 5 June 2011

Academic Editor: John Kortbeek

Copyright © 2011 Tatsuro Sasaji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A case of ossification of transverse ligament of atlas (TLA) is reported. A 76-year-old female suffered from a transverse type myelopathy was successfully treated by posterior decompression. Dynamic lateral plain radiographs showed irreducible atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS). A computed tomogram revealed ossified mass compatible to ossification of TLA. Coalition of the atlantooccipital joints and osteoarthritis of the atlantoaxial joints with degenerated dens was also revealed. Magnetic resonance imaging showed compressed spinal cord at C1 level by the ossification of TLA and AAS. We suggest a mechanism of ossification of TLA as follows: hypertrophied dens and stress to the atlantoaxial joints caused by coalition of atlantooccipital joints could make forward shift of atlas leading to irreducible AAS, and continuous tension given to TLA from irreducible AAS would result in hypertrophied and ossification of TLA.