Vertebral Column + Spinal Cord
Terms in this set (70)
The vertebral column is composed of 33 vertebrae divided into 5 groups based upon their location
Body of vertebra
Weight bearing part
The part of the arch which connects the transverse process and the lamina to the vertebral body.
Dorsal part of arch connected to pedicles
Articular processes (4)
Bony part of synovial joint; contains 2 superior and 2 inferior facets for articulations with other vertebrae.
Transverse processes (2)
Lateral processes originating from the junction between the pedicle and the lamina
Spinous process (1)
A vertebral part that projects dorsally from the arch where the 2 laminae join; gives attachment for muscles and ligaments.
The opening in one vertebrae bounded by the body, the pedicles, and the laminae.
The spinal canal formed by the successive vertebral foramina. This canal forms a continuous channel which contains the spinal cord, nerve roots, spinal nerves, meninges and vessels.
Superior vertebral notch
Small notch above the pedicle
Inferior vertebral notch
Small notch below the pedicle.
An opening formed by superior and inferior vertebral notches of adjacent vertebrae; the dorsal root ganglia of spinal nerves lie in the intervertebral foramina, and it is in this area that the dorsal and ventral roots join.
Foramina in the cervical transverse processes of the first 6 cervical vertebrae; often present in C7. The foramina contain the vertebral arteries and veins.
Most cervical vertebrae have these (except #1 and #7)
First cervical vertebra
1 - Lacks a body and a spinous process
2 - Contains an anterior arch and anterior tubercle, a posterior arch and posterior tubercle, and a lateral mass
Second cervical vertebra
Has the dens and atlantoaxial joint
Dens (odontoid process)
On anterior part of C2 (axis); projects into vertebral foramen of the atlas
Joint between the atlas and the axis' dens
C7 - vertebra prominens
Contains a long spinous process and often has transverse foramina
6 (2 superior, 2 inferior and 2 transverse) - location for articulation with the ribs; located on the body and on the transverse process of thoracic vertebrae
Contain costal facets and long, slender spinous processes, which do not have cost facets but do have articular facets.
5 Sacral vertebrae
Fuse in the adult
Anterior and superior part of the body of S1
Aperture present where S2 lamina and spinout process are absent ; leads into sacral canal and is the inferior opening of the vertebral canal
Articulations of the sacral vertebrae
1 - lumbosacral
2 - sacroiliac
4 Coccygeal vertebrae (coccyx)
Known as the tailbone. Usually consists of 4 vertebrae. The first coccygeal vertebra has a coccygeal cornua.
A defect allowing part of a vertebral arch to be separate from its body
A defect of the vertebral arch resulting from the failure of fusion of the halves of the arch; usually occurs in L5 and/or S1.
Thoracic, sacral and coccygeal curves
Anteriorly concave curves of the vertebral column. They are known as primary curves.
Cervical and lumbar curves
Anteriorly convex curves of the vertebral column. These are known as secondary curves. The cervical curve allows the infant to hold its head erect. The lumbar curve assists the infant in upright posture and walking.
Exaggerated thoracic curvature ("over concaved" in the thoracic vertebrae), sometimes referred to as "humpback" or "hunchback."
Exaggerated lumbar curvature ("over convexed" in the lumbar vertebrae), usually due to the anterior rotation of the pelvis; sometimes referred to as "swayback."
Abnormal lateral curvature of the vertebrae; often described as a "crooked" back
A thin, continuous ligament that attaches to the tip of each spinous process from the sacrum to C7.
From C7 to the skull, this is the name of the somewhat more prominent ligament that connects the tips of the spinous processes of cervical vertebrae.
Unite adjacent spinous processes in an oblique direction
Connect laminae of adjacent vertebrae
2 types of joints
Cartilaginous joints and synovial joints
Cartilaginous (amphiarthrosis) joints
Those associated with the vertebral column are known as intervertebral joints. These joints are of the subtype known as symphysis, and have the following characteristics:
-between adjacent vertebral bodies
-united to fibrocartilage (intervertebral disc)
Intervertebral disc (fibrocartilage)
Located between most vertebral bodies; contains 2 parts:
1 - annulus fibrosus
2 - nucleus pulposus
The outer fibrous part composed of fibrocartilage arranged in concentric lamellae; attached to rims of vertebral bodies (A on the figure)
A gelatinous central mass that composes the "core" of the disc. Because of the dehydration and degeneration in the nucleus pulpous associated with aging, there is a slight loss in height as we obtain old age. It is the remnant of the notochord (B on the figure).
The articulation between the rib tubercle and the transverse process of corresponding vertebrae.
The articulation between the head of the rib and the costal facets of the vertebral bodies.
Zygapophyseal joints (facet joints)
Articulations between the articular processes of the vertebral arches. These are synovial joints which are located between the superior and inferior articular processes of adjacent vertebrae.
Spinal cord origin
Continues with the medulla oblongata; superiorly, it begins at the foramen magnum.
Spinal cord termination
Its tapered, inferior (terminal) end is known as the medullary cone (conus medullaris) and it is located inferior to the exit of the coccygeal nerve rootlets from the spinal cord. It occurs at the intervertebral disc between L1 and L2; however, it can vary in its ending from T12 to L3.
Growth of the spinal cord/vertebral column
During fetal growth, the spinal cord and vertebrae do not grow at the same rate; the vertebral column grows faster, leaving the spinal cord shorter than the vertebral column. Because of this discrepancy, the length of the nerve roots increases inferiorly; thus, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal nerve roots are longer than the cervical and thoracic nerve roots. This is why there is a difference between vertebral levels and spinal cord levels.
From C4 to T1 segments of the spinal cord; nerve fibers originating from this enlargement supply the upper extremities.
From L1 to S4 segments of the spinal cord; nerve fibers originating from this enlargement supply the lower extremities.
A collection of dorsal and ventral roots of the lumbar, sacral and coccygeal spinal nerves that travel through the subarachnoid space. They will eventually exit their respective intervertebral foramina. Located below the level of the conus medullaris and within the subarachnoid space (in CSF).
Dorsal median sulcus and septum
Where dorsal nerve rootlets are connected to the spinal cord
Where ventral nerve rootlets are connected to the spinal cord
Ventral median fissure
Anterior spinal artery is distributed inferiorly to this fissure
Anterior spinal artery
Generally there is one artery
Origin - formed from branches of the vertebral arteries.
Distribution - distributed inferiorly to the ventral median fissure
Posterior spinal arteries
Generally, there are 2 arteries
Origin - formed from branches of the vertebral arteries
Distribution - lies dorsal to the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves
These are the arterial branches which enter along the anterior and posterior nerve roots, and supply these roots, the anterior and posterior spinal arteries, and the spinal cord with blood. These arteries originate from the spinal branches of arteries associated with specific areas of the spinal cord.
Usual pattern of venous distribution in spinal cord
Similar to the arterial distribution. Usual pattern involves 3 anterior spinal veins and 3 posterior spinal veins. Spinal veins drain into radicular veins.
3 membranes which surround the CNS and the proximal portion of the PNS - dura mater, arachnoid, Pia mater
Separated from the bone surrounding the vertebral foramina by the epidural space.
Spinal dura is present in the intervertebral foramina and along the nerve roots distal to the dorsal root ganglia. It ends by blending distally to the spinal nerve's epineurium
This space contains fat and the internal vertebral venous plexus, and superiorly it ends in the vicinity of the foramen magnum.
It is a sheath of dura within the vertebral canal. Spinal nerves pierce the dural sac. It ends at S2 and is then anchored by the filum of the dura mater to the coccyx.
The connective tissue that covers the peripheral nerve
Internally, it lines the dural sac and the sleeves of the dural roots.
It is separated from the dura mater by the subdural space.
It is separated form the pia mater by the subarachnoid space (filled with CSF)
Inferiorly, this layer ends at vertebra level S2 (at the end of the dural sac)
From L2-S2, known as the lumbar cistern; contains the cauda equina, CS, and it is the usual location for the lumbar puncture.
It is the innermost meninge; it ends when the spinal cord ends between L1 and L2.
It extends laterally over the spinal nerve rootlets and roots.
On the spinal cord, the pia mater covers the spinal blood vessels.
Lateral extensions of pia mater between the spinal nerve roots; these extensions are between the spinal cord and the dural sac, and help to suspend and stabilize the spinal cord.
An extension of the pia mater from the spinal cord's conus medullaris to the coccyx. NOTE filum terminale of pia mater blends with the filum of dura mater to form the coccygeal ligament.