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Definition of Joint, atlas and axis

Joint, atlas and axis: The joint between the atlas and axis bones. The atlas is the first cervical (neck) vertebra which is just under the head; it is named for Atlas, the Greek god who supported the world on his shoulders. The axis is the second cervical vertebra; it has what is called the odontoid process about which the atlas rotates.

The joint between the atlas and axis is a pivot type of joint. It allows the head turn from side to side. It is also called the atloaxoid joint.

The ligaments that serve to support and strengthen this joint are called the capsular; anterior and posterior atlantoaxial; and transverse ligaments.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8742
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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