Axis Bone Anatomy
Cervical Vertebrae Anatomy
Introduction to Cervical Vertebrae Anatomy:
Inferior to the atlas bone (C1) and axis bone (C2) are the five remaining cervical vertebrae (C3-C7).
These vertebrae share many anatomical characteristics. An examination of one of the bones, such as the third cervical vertebra (C3), can be used to show the 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.
- 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. [superior view/inferior view]
- 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.
- 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 above.
- Transverse 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. [superior view/inferior view]
- Transverse foramen (foramen transversarium) is a hole in the transverse process that serves as a passageway for the vertebral artery and vein. [superior view/inferior view]
- Vertebral foramen (foramen vertebrale) is a large opening in the centre of the axis bone that forms a passageway for the spinal cord. [superior view/inferior view]
- Vertebral 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. [superior view/inferior view]
- Pedicle 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). [superior view/inferior view]
- Lamina 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. [superior view/inferior view]
- 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. [superior view/inferior view]