|Bone: Intervertebral foramina|
|Sacrum, pelvic surface. (The two columns of four holes are the intervertebral foramina of sacrum, visible but not labeled.)|
|Peculiar thoracic vertebræ. Intervertebral foramina are indicated by arrows.|
|Gray's||subject #20 96|
When the spinal vertebrae are articulated with each other the bodies form a strong pillar for the support of the head and trunk, and the vertebral foramina constitute a canal for the protection of the medulla spinalis (spinal cord). Between every pair of vertebræ are two apertures, the intervertebral foramina (singular: foramen; also called neural foramina). The foramen allows for the passage of the spinal nerve root, dorsal root ganglion, the spinal artery of the segmental artery, communicating veins between the internal and external plexuses, recurrent meningeal (sinu-vertebral) nerves, and transforaminal ligaments.
Their size is variable due to placement, pathology, spinal loading, and posture. They can be occluded by arthritic degenerative changes and space-occupying lesions like tumors, metastases and spinal disc herniations.
Intervertebra foramen is featured on all of the types of the vertebra. Cervical vertebra currently has three different vertebra foramens; however, thoracic and lumbar vertebra only have one. The distinguishing features between lumbar and thoracic vertebra is that thoracic vertebra have more transverse processes or articulating surfaces which are connected to ribs--true and false ribs.
- Diagram at mcgill.ca
- Photo of model at Waynesburg College skeleton2/intervertebralforamen
- Diagram at emory.edu
- Roche Lexicon - illustrated navigator, at Elsevier 06363.008-2
This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.
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