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Cervical vertebrae

Other Terms: Cervical vertebrae, Cervical vertebrae (CI-CVII), Cervical vertebrae [C I - C VII], Cervical vertebrae set, Vertebrae cervicales (CI-CVII), Vertebrae cervicales [C I - C VII]




There are seven cervical vertebrae. These vertebrae are the most variable of the true vertebrae. This is due to the fact that the first two vertebrae in this series have modified their general form significantly from the remaining five vertebrae in the series. They form a delicate column of bones having a wide range of mobility at their joint surfaces. The first two vertebrae, the atlas and axis, are modified to provide for support and movement of the skull. The remaining cervical vertebrae show a lesser degree of mobility and have more uniform forms. These vertebrae are distinguishable by the transverse foramen located on their transverse processes.


The word cervical arises from the Latin term cervix meaning neck. This is an ancient term that has passed through the centuries literally unchanged. The word vertebrae is the plural form of vertebra. It arises from the Latin verb vertere meaning to turn. In 30 A.D., Celsus originally used the word to describe a joint as well as a bone of the spine. It was during the Renaissance revival of anatomy that the term attained its present meaning as a reference to the back bones.


The cervical vertebrae articulate with each superjacent and subjacent cervical vertebra, the occipital bone, and the first thoracic vertebra. Other than the first two vertebrae, the two superior articular facets articulate with the corresponding inferior articular facets of the adjacent vertebra and the superior and inferior surfaces of the vertebral bodies form an articulation via the intervertebral disc of cartilage.


Vertebrae cervicales (CI-CVII)


Vertebrae cervicales [C I - C VII]


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