Cervical Vertebrae C3-C7: 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.
a. Body or centrum (Corpus vertebrae) is a cylindrical mass on anterior side of the vertebra. It articulates with body of the vertebra below (C3).
a. Body or centrum (Corpus vertebrae) is a cylindrical mass on the anterior side of the vertebra. It articulates with vertebral bodies (or centrums) above and below.
b. Superior articular facet (Facies articularis superior) is a posterior facing, slightly concave surface on the superior articular process. It articulates with the inferior articular facet on the vertebra above.
c. Inferior articular facet (Facies articularis superior) is 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.
d. Transverse process (Processus transversus) is a small extension that projects laterally from the body. It is an attachment site for muscles that move the head and neck.
e. Transverse foramen (Foramen transversarium) is a hole in the transverse process that serves as a passageway for the vertebral artery and vein.
f. Vertebral (spinal) foramen (Foramen vertebrale) is a large opening in the center of the axis bone that forms a passageway for the spinal cord.
g. Vertebral (or neural) arch (Arcus vertebrae) is 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.
h. Pedicle of the vertebral arch (Pediculus arcus vertebrae) is one of two posterior extensions from the body that forms the bases of the vertebra arch (L., pediculus, a little foot; stalk).
i. Lamina of the vertebral arch (Lamina archus vertebrae) is one of two plates that forms the dorsal portions of the vertebral arch.
j. Spinous process (Processus spinosus) is 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.