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vertebra prominens

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The C7 vertebra is termed vertebra prominens because of its prominent spinous process which is palpable through the skin:

  • vertebral foramen is more oval and smaller than foramen superiorly
  • body:
    • relatively broader than vertebrae superiorly
    • uncus or lip sited at its lateral margin and facing superomedially
    • joined to pedicle posterolaterally
  • pedicles:
    • directed more posteriorly than superior vertebral pedicles
    • joined to body anteriorly, transverse process laterally, and continuous with lamella posteriorly
  • transverse processes:
    • contain smaller foramen transversarium than superior vertebrae which transmits vertebral vein
    • foramen is bounded by anterior and posterior tubercles connected by intertubercular lamellae
  • anterior tubercle of transverse process:
    • longer than posterior tubercle
    • may form a poorly developed rib-like structure as a fibrous or bony strip - the origin of cervical rib syndrome
  • superior articular process:
    • oval in shape
    • at junction of transverse process and lamella
  • inferior articular process: face more anteriorly than inferiorly
  • laminae: relatively long and project posteriorly in median plane to spinous process
  • spinous process:
    • very long and prominent projecting directly posteriorly
    • not bifid
    • spinous tubercle at tip

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