The anterior longitudinal ligament is a broad and strong band of fibers, which extends along the anterior surfaces of the bodies of the vertebræ, from the axis to the sacrum.
It is broader below than above, thicker in the thoracic than in the cervical and lumbar regions, and somewhat thicker opposite the bodies of the vertebræ than opposite the intervertebral fibrocartilages.
It is attached, above, to the body of the axis, where it is continuous with the anterior atlantoaxial ligament, and extends down as far as the upper part of the front of the sacrum.
It consists of dense longitudinal fibers, which are intimately adherent to the intervertebral fibrocartilages and the prominent margins of the vertebræ, but not to the middle parts of the bodies.
In the latter situation the ligament is thick and serves to fill up the concavities on the anterior surfaces, and to make the front of the vertebral column more even.
It is composed of several layers of fibers, which vary in length, but are closely interlaced with each other. The most superficial fibers are the longest and extend between four or five vertebræ. A second, subjacent set extends between two or three vertebræ while a third set, the shortest and deepest, reaches from one vertebra to the next. At the sides of the bodies the ligament consists of a few short fibers which pass from one vertebra to the next, separated from the concavities of the vertebral bodies by oval apertures for the passage of vessels.