Typical cervical vertebrae

Typical cervical vertebrae: Anatomy & FunctionKey facts about the anatomy of the typical cervical vertebrae
~ 3 min

There are 7 cervical vertebrae (vertebrae cervicales) in the vertebral column.

Cervical vertebrae (vertebrae cervicales)
Cervical vertebrae (vertebrae cervicales)

Generally speaking, they have the following distinctive features:

  • A fairly small body, due to the fact that they carry little load

Vertebral body (corpus vertebrae)
Vertebral body (corpus vertebrae)
  • The spinous processes of the 2nd-6th vertebrae have a bifurcation at their end

    Spinous process (processus spinosus)
    Spinous process (processus spinosus)
  • There are holes in the transverse processes. Each opening is called foramen transversarium.

    The vertebral artery that participates in the blood supply of the brain passes through it.

    Foramen transversarium (foramen transversarium)
    Foramen transversarium (foramen transversarium)

    The cervical vertebrae can be divided into:

  • Typical (III-VII)

  • Atypical (I-II)

    Let us examine the structure of the typical vertebrae. We will not list all the structures; you can read about them in the previous PSF-note. We will only outline a few features that are unique to typical cervical vertebrae:

  • The transverse process ends in anterior and posterior tubercles (tuberculum anterius et tuberculum posterius). The anterior tubercle of the 6th cervical vertebra is quite large, and the carotid artery may be clamped to it when

    Anterior tubercle / Carotid tubercle (tuberculum anterius / tuberculum caroticum)
    Anterior tubercle / Carotid tubercle (tuberculum anterius / tuberculum caroticum)
    Posterior tubercle (tuberculum posterius)
    Posterior tubercle (tuberculum posterius)

    bleeding (to stop this bleeding).

  • On the transverse process, you can also find the groove for the spinal nerve (sulcus nervi spinalis), where the nerve passes through

    Groove for the spinal nerve (sulcus nervi spinalis)
    Groove for the spinal nerve (sulcus nervi spinalis)
  • The spinous process of the 7th cervical vertebra is the longest, and its apex is quite well palpable. For this reason, the 7th cervical vertebra is called vertebra prominens

Vertebra prominens (vertebra prominens)
Vertebra prominens (vertebra prominens)
Dictionary

Typical cervical vertebrae

vertebrae cervicales
cervical vertebrae
corpus vertebrae
vertebral body
processus spinosus
spinous process
foramen transversarium
foramen transversarium
tuberculum anterius
anterior tubercle
tuberculum posterius
posterior tubercle
tuberculum caroticum
carotid tubercle
sulcus nervi spinalis
groove for spinal nerve
vertebra prominens
vertebra prominens
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