Typical vertebra

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

Regardless of which division they belong to, all typical vertebrae share a common structure and each vertebra certainly contains the following structures:

  • Vertebral body (corpus vertebrae)

    Vertebral body (corpus vertebrae)
    Vertebral body (corpus vertebrae)
  • Vertebral arch (arcus vertebrae)

Vertebral arch (arcus vertebrae)
Vertebral arch (arcus vertebrae)

Between the body and the arch lies the vertebral foramen (foramen vertebrale).

Vertebral foramen (foramen vertebrale)
Vertebral foramen (foramen vertebrale)

All the vertebral foramina together form the vertebral canal (canalis vertebralis), which contains the spinal cord.

The vertebral arch can be distinguished by the lamina of the vertebral arch (lamina arcus vertebrae) and the pedicle of the vertebral arch (pediculus arcus vertebrae).

Lamina of the vertebral arch (lamina arcus vertebrae)
Lamina of the vertebral arch (lamina arcus vertebrae)

There is one lamina and one pedicle on each side (left and right).

Pedicle of the vertebral arch (pediculus arcus vertebrae)
Pedicle of the vertebral arch (pediculus arcus vertebrae)

On the vertebral arch are the processes to which the fasciae and muscles attach:

  • The unpaired spinous process (processus spinosus), which extends backward

    Spinous process (processus spinosus)
    Spinous process (processus spinosus)
  • The paired transverse process (processus transversus). These processes extend backward and slightly to the side

    Transverse process (processus transversus)
    Transverse process (processus transversus)
  • The paired superior articular process (processus articularis superior). Each of them has a superior articular surface (facies articularis superior) for articulation with the upper vertebra

    Superior articular process (processus articularis superior)
    Superior articular process (processus articularis superior)
  • The paired inferior articular process (processus articularis inferior). Each has a inferior articular surface (facies articularis inferior) for articulation with the underlying vertebra

    Inferior articular process (processus articularis inferior)
    Inferior articular process (processus articularis inferior)

    From the side, two notches are distinguished on the vertebra:

  • The superior vertebral notch (incisura vertebralis superior)

    Superior vertebral notch (incisura vertebralis superior)
    Superior vertebral notch (incisura vertebralis superior)
  • The inferior vertebral notch (incisura vertebralis inferior)

The inferior notch of the vertebra above and the superior notch of the vertebra under join together to form the intervertebral foramen (foramen intervertebrale), through which blood vessels and nerves pass.

Inferior vertebral notch (incisura vertebralis inferior)
Inferior vertebral notch (incisura vertebralis inferior)
Intervertebral foramen (foramen intervertebrale)
Intervertebral foramen (foramen intervertebrale)
Dictionary

Typical vertebra

corpus vertebrae
vertebral body
arcus vertebrae
vertebral arch
foramen vertebrale
vertebral foramen
canalis vertebralis
vertebral canal
lamina arcus vertebrae
lamina of vertebral arch
pediculus arcus vertebrae
pedicle of vertebral arch
processus spinosus
spinous process
processus transversus
transverse process
processus articularis superior
superior articular process
facies articularis superior
superior articular facet
processus articularis inferior
inferior articular process
facies articularis inferior
inferior articular facet
incisura vertebralis superior
superior vertebral notch
incisura vertebralis inferior
inferior vertebral notch
foramen intervertebrale
intervertebral foramen
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