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Functional Anatomy of Spine
Jeffrey S. Ross, MD
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Imaging Anatomy: Introduction

  • There are 33 spinal vertebrae, which comprise 2 components: A cylindrical ventral bone mass, which is the vertebral body, and the dorsal arch.

Cervical Spine

  • The cervical bodies are small and thin relative to the size of the arch and foramen with the transverse diameter > the AP diameter. The lateral edges of the superior surface of the body are turned upward into the uncinate processes. The transverse foramen perforates the transverse processes. The vertebra artery resides within the transverse foramen, most commonly starting at the C6 level.

Thoracic Spine

Lumbar Spine

Joints in Spine

  • Synarthrosis

    • Diarthrosis

      • Amphiarthroses

        • Atlantooccipital

          • Atlantoaxial

            Intervertebral Disc

            Ligaments of Spine

            • Anterior Longitudinal Ligament
            • Posterior Longitudinal Ligament
            • Craniocervical Ligaments

            Vascular, Nerve Supply, and Meninges

            • Vertebral Artery
            • Vertebral Column Blood Supply
            • Nerves
            • Meninges are divided into dura, arachnoid, and pia

            Selected References

            1. Mok FP et al: Modic changes of the lumbar spine: prevalence, risk factors, and association with disc degeneration and low back pain in a large-scale population-based cohort. Spine J. 16(1):32-41, 2016
            2. Griessenauer CJ et al: Venous drainage of the spine and spinal cord: a comprehensive review of its history, embryology, anatomy, physiology, and pathology. Clin Anat. 28(1):75-87, 2015
            3. Lopez AJ et al: Anatomy and biomechanics of the craniovertebral junction. Neurosurg Focus. 38(4):E2, 2015
            4. Fardon DF et al: Lumbar disc nomenclature: version 2.0: recommendations of the combined task forces of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology, and the American Society of Neuroradiology. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 39(24):E1448-65, 2014
            5. Williams AL et al: Lumbar disc nomenclature: version 2.0. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 35(11):2029, 2014
            6. Santillan A et al: Vascular anatomy of the spinal cord. J Neurointerv Surg. 4(1):67-74, 2012
            7. Modic MT et al: Lumbar degenerative disk disease. Radiology. 245(1):43-61, 2007
            8. Battie MC et al: Lumbar disc degeneration: epidemiology and genetics. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 88 Suppl 2:3-9, 2006
            9. Haughton V: Imaging intervertebral disc degeneration. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 88 Suppl 2:15-20, 2006
            10. Roh JS et al: Degenerative disorders of the lumbar and cervical spine. Orthop Clin North Am. 36(3):255-62, 2005
            Related Anatomy
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            References
            Tables

            Tables

            Imaging Anatomy: Introduction

            • There are 33 spinal vertebrae, which comprise 2 components: A cylindrical ventral bone mass, which is the vertebral body, and the dorsal arch.

            Cervical Spine

            • The cervical bodies are small and thin relative to the size of the arch and foramen with the transverse diameter > the AP diameter. The lateral edges of the superior surface of the body are turned upward into the uncinate processes. The transverse foramen perforates the transverse processes. The vertebra artery resides within the transverse foramen, most commonly starting at the C6 level.

            Thoracic Spine

            Lumbar Spine

            Joints in Spine

            • Synarthrosis

              • Diarthrosis

                • Amphiarthroses

                  • Atlantooccipital

                    • Atlantoaxial

                      Intervertebral Disc

                      Ligaments of Spine

                      • Anterior Longitudinal Ligament
                      • Posterior Longitudinal Ligament
                      • Craniocervical Ligaments

                      Vascular, Nerve Supply, and Meninges

                      • Vertebral Artery
                      • Vertebral Column Blood Supply
                      • Nerves
                      • Meninges are divided into dura, arachnoid, and pia

                      Selected References

                      1. Mok FP et al: Modic changes of the lumbar spine: prevalence, risk factors, and association with disc degeneration and low back pain in a large-scale population-based cohort. Spine J. 16(1):32-41, 2016
                      2. Griessenauer CJ et al: Venous drainage of the spine and spinal cord: a comprehensive review of its history, embryology, anatomy, physiology, and pathology. Clin Anat. 28(1):75-87, 2015
                      3. Lopez AJ et al: Anatomy and biomechanics of the craniovertebral junction. Neurosurg Focus. 38(4):E2, 2015
                      4. Fardon DF et al: Lumbar disc nomenclature: version 2.0: recommendations of the combined task forces of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology, and the American Society of Neuroradiology. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 39(24):E1448-65, 2014
                      5. Williams AL et al: Lumbar disc nomenclature: version 2.0. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 35(11):2029, 2014
                      6. Santillan A et al: Vascular anatomy of the spinal cord. J Neurointerv Surg. 4(1):67-74, 2012
                      7. Modic MT et al: Lumbar degenerative disk disease. Radiology. 245(1):43-61, 2007
                      8. Battie MC et al: Lumbar disc degeneration: epidemiology and genetics. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 88 Suppl 2:3-9, 2006
                      9. Haughton V: Imaging intervertebral disc degeneration. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 88 Suppl 2:15-20, 2006
                      10. Roh JS et al: Degenerative disorders of the lumbar and cervical spine. Orthop Clin North Am. 36(3):255-62, 2005