Objective—To determine the gross morphology of the multifidus, longus colli, and longus thoracis muscles in the cervical and cranial thoracic portions of the equine vertebral column.
Sample—15 horse cadavers.
Procedures—The vertebral column was removed intact from the first cervical vertebra (C1) to the seventh thoracic vertebra (T7). After removing the superficial musculature, detailed anatomic dissections of the multifidus, longus colli, and longus thoracis muscles were performed.
Results—The multifidus cervicis muscle consisted of 5 bundles/level arranged in lateral, medial, and deep layers from C2 caudally into the thoracic portion of the vertebral column. Fibers in each bundle attached cranially to a spinous process then diverged laterally, attaching caudally on the dorsolateral edge of the vertebral lamina and blending into the joint capsule of an articular process articulation after crossing 1 to 4 intervertebral joints. The longus colli muscle had ventral, medial, and deep layers with 5 bundles/level from C1 to C5 that attached cranially to the ventral surface of the vertebral body, diverged laterally and crossed 1 to 4 intervertebral joints, then attached onto a vertebral transverse process as far caudally as C6. The longus thoracis muscle consisted of a single, well-defined muscle belly from C6 to T5-T6, with intermediate muscular attachments onto the ventral aspects of the vertebral bodies, the intervertebral symphyses, and the craniomedial aspects of the costovertebral joint capsules.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that there were multiple, short bundles of the multifidus cervicis, multifidus thoracis, and longus colli muscles; this was consistent with a function of providing sagittal plane intersegmental vertebral column stability.