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Cervical Vertebrae Anatomy

Introduction to Cervical Vertebrae Anatomy:

Inferior to the atlas bone (C1) and axis bone (C2) are the five remaining image descriptioncervical vertebrae (C3-C7).

cervical vertebrae animation
Image with the cervical vertebrae highlighted in blue
The cervical vertebrae.
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These vertebrae share many anatomical characteristics. An examination of one of the bones, such as the image descriptionthird cervical vertebra (C3), can be used to show the markings found on the other four.

Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
cervical vertebrae - c3 - animation 16
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
Cervical vertebra animation slide
The third cervical vertebra (C3)

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.

Bone Markings:

  1. image descriptionBody 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. [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the body of a cervical vertebra
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the body of a cervical vertebra
The body of a cervical vertebra
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  1. image descriptionSuperior 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.
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the superior articular facet of a cervical vertebra
Superior articular facet of a cervical vertebra
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  1. image descriptionInferior 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 above.
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the inferior articular facet of a cervical vertebra
Inferior articular facet of a cervical vertebra.
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  1. image descriptionTransverse process (processus transversus) is a small lateral extension from the body. It is an attachment site for the muscles that move the head and neck. [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the transverse process of a cervical vertebra
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the transverse process of a cervical vertebra
Transverse process of the cervical vertebra.
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  1. image descriptionTransverse foramen (foramen transversarium) is a hole in the transverse process that serves as a passageway for the vertebral artery and vein. [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the transverse foramen of a cervical foramen
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the transverse foramen of a cervical vertebra
Transverse foramen of the cervical foramen.
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  1. image descriptionVertebral foramen (foramen vertebrale) is a large opening in the centre of the axis bone that forms a passageway for the spinal cord. [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the vertebral foramen of a cervical vertebra
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the vertebral foramen of a cervical vertebra
Vertebral foramen of a cervical vertebra.
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  1. image descriptionVertebral arch (arcus vertebrae) is made up of two pedicles, two laminae, and a spinous process. The arch encloses the posterior vertebral foramen and protects the spinal cord. [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the vertebral arch of a cervical vertebra
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the vertebral arch of a cervical vertebra
Vertebral arch of a cervical vertibra.
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  1. image descriptionPedicle of the vertebral arch (pediculus arcus vertebrae) is a posterior extension from the lateral side of the body. The two pedicles form the base of the vertebra arch (L., pediculus, a little foot; stalk). [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the pedicle of a cervical vertebra
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the pedicle of a cervical vertebra
Pedicle of a cervical vertebra.
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  1. image descriptionLamina of the vertebral arch (lamina archus vertebrae) is a plate of bone that extends from the pedicle. The two laminae form the dorsal portions of the vertebral arch. [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the lamina of the cervical vertebra
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the lamina of a cervical vertebra
Lamina of a cervical vertebra.
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  1. image descriptionSpinous 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. [image descriptionsuperior view/image descriptioninferior view]
Unlabelled image of the superior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the spinous process of a cervical vertebra
Unlabelled image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra
Labelled image of the spinous process of a cervical vertebra
Spinous process of a cervical vertebra.
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Test yourself:

Superior view: [image descriptionShow/image descriptionHide answers]

Test yourself image with answers hidden
Test yourself image showing answers: Body, Transverse foramen, Superior articular facet, Vertebral arch, Spinous process, Transverse process, Pedicle, Vertebral foramen, Lamina
Superior view of a cervical vertebra - test yourself.
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Test yourself:

Inferior view: [image descriptionShow/image descriptionHide answers]

Test yourself image of the inferior view of a cervical vertebra with answers hidden.
Test yourself image of the inferior view of the cervical vertebra showing answers: body, transverse foramne, inferior articular facet, vertebral arch, spinous process, transverse process, pedicle, vertebral foramen, lamina
Inferior view of a cervical vertebra - test yourself.
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