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Bony protrusions that arise at right angles to the midline of the lamina
A typical vertebra has a body and a vertebral arch that rises from the midline of the lamina. The vertebral arch has 3 bony protrusions: a spine-like spinous process in the middle and transverse processes on each side. The vertebral body and arch are joined by a ligament or pedicle. The vertebrae are joined together at the facet joints and are surrounded by articulating cartilage.
The vertebrae are connected by ligaments that run along the length of the vertebra. The laminae transmit vertical forces to the pedicles and pars interarticularis. These structures are made of a thicker cortical bone and redirect laminar forces to the horizontal plane.
The articular processes of vertebrae are the discs located between the bones of the spine. Each vertebra has three articular processes. The superior process is known as the spinous process, while the inferior process is known as the transverse process. The articular processes of vertebrae also form part of the lumbar region.
The articular processes of vertebrae spring from the junction of the pedicles and laminae. They have two superior and inferior processes and lock with the zygapophysis on the vertebra below. The superior process extends upward from the lower vertebra, with articular surfaces pointing backward, while the inferior process projects downward from the upper vertebra. The articular surfaces are coated with hyaline cartilage.
Articular processes of vertebrae are shaped like a triangle. The superior process projects superiorly from the junction of the lamina and the pedicle, while the inferior process projects inferiorly.
The uncinate process is a triangular projection that extends from the lateral aspect of the vertebral body. This projection gives the cervical vertebra its saddle-like appearance. It can be present or absent on x-ray. It should be monitored carefully for fractures and degenerative changes. It can also be a site of ischemia for the spinal cord and the adjacent arterioles.
Uncinate processes are commonly found in the vertebral column from C3 to C7. On occasion, the uncinate process extends to the T1 and T2. Its position is dependent upon the vertebral segment.
Facet joints between vertebrae are small, paired joints that are critical to spinal stability and prevention of spinal injury. These joints are richly innervated and are often subject to painful conditions. A thorough physical examination and medical history are essential to properly diagnose facet joint pain. The doctor may ask you to move in different positions and manipulate the joints to evaluate the severity and location of the pain. He may also perform imaging studies to identify any other spinal problems.
The facet joints between vertebrae form articular pillars and provide structural stability to the vertebrae. Facet joints may be inflamed due to an inflammatory process such as immune-mediated polyarthritis. In some cases, the pain is a result of an infection or trauma to the facet joints.
The Intervertebral foramen is a space between vertebrae at the base of the spine. This space is subdivided into three regions – the entrance, mid-zone, and exit zone. These three zones are visualized on a 3D sagittal slice of the human body.
In the male, the Intervertebral foramen geometry changes as a person ages. This is indicated by changes in the BBA and P-SAP during the aging process. The BBA value reflects the area of bony anatomical structures surrounding the foramen.
Anatomically, the Intervertebral foramen has two distinct boundaries. The first zone is the inferior vertebral body and the inferior pedicle. The middle zone is a space with the vertebral artery foramen. The lateral zone contains the spinal cord. The first intervertebral space is not a true foramen because it lacks the posterior bone structure.