Atypical cervical vertebrae. Axis (C2)

Atypical cervical vertebrae. Axis (C2): Anatomy & FunctionKey facts about the anatomy of the second cervical vertabra – the Axis (C2)
~ 3 min

The second cervical vertebra is called the axis.

axis
axis

In general, it has the typical structure of a cervical vertebra (see corresponding PDF-note), but still with some diffeences. The most characteristic feature is the presence of a certain outgrowth — the dens.

dens
dens

The dens has an apex (apex dentis);

apex (apex dentis)
apex (apex dentis)

and anterior and posterior articular surfaces (facies articularis anterior et facies articularis posterior).

Anterior articular surface (facies articularis anterior)
Anterior articular surface (facies articularis anterior)

The anterior articular surface is connected to the fossa of the dens of the first cervical vertebra (atlas), and the posterior surface is connected to the transverse ligament of the atlas.

Posterior articular surface (facies articularis posterior)
Posterior articular surface (facies articularis posterior)

The vertebral body has superior and inferior articular processes (processus articularis superior et processus articularis inferior);

Superior articular process (processus articularis superior)
Superior articular process (processus articularis superior)

with corresponding articular surfaces (facies articularis superior et facies articularis inferior).

The upper articular surfaces serve to articulate with the atlas, the inferior articular surfaces — with the third cervical vertebra.

Inferior articular process (processus articularis inferior)
Inferior articular process (processus articularis inferior)
Superior articular surface (facies articularis superior)
Superior articular surface (facies articularis superior)
Inferior articular surface (facies articularis inferior)
Inferior articular surface (facies articularis inferior)

It is important to remember that the transverse processes (processus transversus) of all cervical vertebrae (including the axis) have transverse foramina (foramen transversarium) through which the vertebral artery passes.

foramen transversarium
foramen transversarium
Dictionary

Axis (C2)

axis
axis
dens
dens
apex dentis
apex
facies articularis anterior
anterior articular facet
facies articularis posterior
posterior articular facet
corpus vertebrae
vertebral body
processus articularis superior
superior articular process
processus articularis inferior
inferior articular process
facies articularis superior
superior articular surface
facies articularis inferior
inferior articular surface
foramen transversarium
foramen transversarium
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