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Introduction:
Inferior to the atlas bone (C1) and axis bone (C2) bones are the remaining five cervical vertebrae (C3-C7).

These vertebrae share many common anatomical characteristic.

A single vertebra, such as C3, can be used to show the general bone markings found on the other four.

The last cervical vertebra (C7), however, is somewhat distinctive in that it typically has a more elongated spinous process.

For this reason, C7 is often referred to as the vertebra prominens.


Superior Bone Markings:
(Corpus vertebrae) - a cylindrical mass on the anterior side of the vertebra. It articulates with vertebral bodies (or centrums) above and below.
(Facies articularis superior) - a posterior facing, slightly concave surface on the superior articular process. It articulates with the inferior articular facet on the vertebra above.
(Processus transversus) - a small extension that projects laterally from the body. It is an attachment site for muscles that move the head and neck.
(Foramen transversarium) - a hole in the transverse process that serves as a passageway for the vertebral artery and vein.
(Foramen vertebrale) - a large opening in the center of the bone that forms a passageway for the spinal cord.
(Arcus vertebrae) - a bony posterior arch made up of two pedicles, two laminae, and a spinous process. The arch encloses the posterior vertebral foramen and protects the spinal cord.
(Pediculus arcus vertebrae) - a posterior extension from the body. The left and right pedicles form the bases of the vertebral arch (L., pediculus, a little foot; stalk).
(Lamina archus vertebrae) - a plate of bone that extends from the pedicle to the spinous process. The left and right laminae form the dorsal portion of the vertebral arch.
(Processus spinosus) - a narrow posterior projection from the junction of the two laminae. It is an attachment point for ligaments and muscles that move the head and neck.
Inferior Bone Markings:
(Corpus vertebrae) - a cylindrical mass on the anterior side of the vertebra. It articulates with body of the vertebra below.
(Facies articularis superior) - a forward facing, flattened surface on the inferior articular process. The inferior articular facet makes contact with the superior articular facet on the cervical vertebra below.
(Processus transversus) - a small extension that lies inferior to the superior articular facet and projects laterally. It is an attachment site for muscles that move the head and neck.
(Foramen transversarium) - a hole in the transverse process that serves as a passageway for the vertebral artery and vein.
(Foramen vertebrale) - a large opening in the center of the bone that forms a passageway for the spinal cord.
(Arcus vertebrae) - a bony posterior arch made up of two pedicles, two laminae, and a spinous process. The arch encloses the posterior vertebral foramen and protects the spinal cord.
(Pediculus arcus vertebrae) - one of two posterior extensions from the body that forms the bases of the vertebra arch (L., pediculus, a little foot; stalk).
(Lamina archus vertebrae) - one of two plates that forms the dorsal portion of the vertebral arch.
(Processus spinosus) - a narrow posterior projection from the junction of the two laminae. It is an attachment point for ligaments and muscles that move the head and neck.
Review Bone Markings:




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Cervical Vertebrae