The anatomy of the so-called 'articular nerves' and their relationship to facet denervation in the treatment of low back pain

N. Bogduk, D. M. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Dissections of the dorsal rami of L1-5 were performed in human cadavers, and the course of the dorsal rami, their branches, and the innervation of the zygapophyseal joints in the lumbar region were specifically studied. At the L-1 through L-4 levels, the dorsal rami divide into medial and lateral branches within the intertransverse ligaments. Each medial branch runs across the root of the adjacent superior articular process. At the caudal edge of the process, the branch turns medially beneath the mammillo-accessory ligament. Beneath the mammillo-accessory ligament, medial branches occur that innervate the adjacent zygapophyseal joint, and distal zygapophyseal branches arise at the laminar level to innervate the next lower joint. The L-5 dorsal ramus runs along a groove between the ala of the sacrum and its superior articular process. At the caudal edge of the articular process, the ramus divides into medial and lateral branches, and the medial branch supplies the L5-S1 articulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-177
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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