Costotransverse Ligaments

Original Editor - Ananya Bunglae Sudindar

Top Contributors - Ananya Bunglae Sudindar

Description[edit | edit source]

The costotransverse joint is a synovial joint formed by the articular surface of the costal tubercle and the costal facet of the transverse process of the corresponding vertebra.

These joints run from the first thoracic vertebra (T1) to the tenth thoracic vertebra (T10) and are surrounded by a weak articular capsule. This thin capsule is reinforced and strengthened by 3 ligaments:

  • The costotransverse ligament
  • The lateral costotransverse ligament
  • The superior costotransverse ligament


Attachments[edit | edit source]

  • Lateral Costotransverse Ligament: It connects the lateral aspect of the costal tubercle and the tip of the corresponding transverse process
  • Costotransverse Ligament: It is located between the neck of the rib posteriorly and the transverse process at the same level
  • Superior Costotransverse Ligament: It connects the superior aspect of the neck of the rib to the inferior border of the transverse process of the vertebra immediately above it


Function[edit | edit source]

The Costotransverse ligaments consist of large amounts of elastic fibres which stretch during a movement in one direction and shorten with movement in the opposite direction. Due to this the ligaments remain taut rather than lax during various movements within the joint.[1]

The Costotransverse ligaments have the following functions.

  • They protect the nerves within the intervertebral foramen from tensile and compressive forces [3]
  • The Costotransverse Ligaments provide stability to the joint structure. They help with the load bearing and protection with their stabilizing properties[4]
  • They limit excessive movement of the ribs at the transverse joint during respiration thus allowing for maximum expansion of the thoracic cavity.[5]

Clinical Relevance[edit | edit source]

The Costotransverse disorders and pathologies that involve the Costotransverse ligaments directly include:


Resources[edit | edit source]

Costovertebral and costotransverse joints - KENHUB

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Saker E, Graham RA, Nicholas R, D’Antoni AV, Loukas M, Oskouian RJ, Tubbs RS. Ligaments of the costovertebral joints including biomechanics, innervations, and clinical applications: a comprehensive review with application to approaches to the thoracic spine. Cureus. 2016 Nov 11;8(11).
  2. Levangie P, Norkin C. Joint structure and function. A comprehensive analysis. Fifth edition ed. 2011.
  3. Kraan GA, Hoogland PV, Wuisman PI. Extraforaminal ligament attachments of the thoracic spinal nerves in humans. European Spine Journal. 2009;18(4):490–8. doi:10.1007/s00586-009-0881-4
  4. Forman J, Perry B, Henderson K, Gjolaj JP, Heltzel S, Lessley D, et al. Blunt impacts to the back: Biomechanical response for model development. Journal of Biomechanics. 2015;48(12):3219–26. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.06.035
  5. Little JP, Adam CJ. Effects of surgical joint destabilization on load sharing between ligamentous structures in the thoracic spine: A finite element investigation. Clinical Biomechanics. 2011;26(9):895–903. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2011.05.004