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Flashcards in Cervical Spine Focused Deck (19):

What key anatomical features make the C1 special?

The widest cervical vertebrae
Has no vertebral body.
Occupied by the odontoid process (or dens) of the axis.
On the posterior surface of the anterior arch is a facet for articulation with the odontoid process.
C1 has no spinous process posteriorly, instead it has a posterior tubercle.
The C1 articulates above with the occipital condyles and below with the C2.


What key anatomical features make the C2 special?

The superior surface of the body of the axis carries a central bony pillar, which forms the odontoid process or dens.
This acts as a pivot for the atlas and forms the atlanto-axiel joint.
The transverse processes have a vertical foramen for the vertebral artery.
The facet joints of C2 are broad and flat to allow maximum mobility in relation to the atlas above and C3 below.
There is the beginning of a posterior spinous process at this level, which exhibits the characteristic bifid appearance.


What key anatomical features make the C7 special?

Is a non-bifid spinous process that is especially large and can easily be felt under the skin.
This called that vertebra prominens.
The vertebral artery does not pass through the foramina of C7 but runs anteriorly.


Define which vertebrae form the suboccipital segment of the cervical spine?

C1 and C2


What vertebrae form the inferior segment of the cervical spine?

The inferior surface of C2 to the superior surface of T1.


What are the full names of C1 and C2?

C1 - Atlas
C2 - Axis


What is the unciform process?

The upper surface of the superior plateau of the vertebral bodies is raised laterally to form the unciform process.


What is the function of the unciform process?



What is the ligamentum nuchae?

The ligamentum nuchae is that well-developed portion of the supraspinous ligament in the cervical region. It runs from the external occipital protuberance along the tips of the spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae, to the tip of the spinous process of the vertebra prominens (usually C7)


What are the three main functions of cervical muscles?

To move the head and neck
To suspend and move the entire shoulder girdle
To suspend, fix and elevate the thoracic inlet


From which vertebral landmark does each exiting cervical nerve root get its name?

Each cervical nerve root is named after the number of the pedicle that it passes over on its exit, except for the 8th cervical nerve, which lies between C7 and T1.


Define rami.

A short distance after the anterior and posterior roots join to form a spinal nerve proper, the nerve divides into several branches called rami. The branches of the cervical rami are:

Dorsal ramus - innervates the skin of the back, the skin on the back of the head and tissues of deep muscles.

Ventral ramus - innervates skin, tissue and muscles of the neck, chest, abdominal wall, both pairs of limbs and pelvic area.

Meningeal ramus - innervates the vertebrae, spinal meninges, spinal blood vessels.

Rami communicares - innervates the visceral structures.


Define plexus.

The ventral rami are arranged to form plexuses. In a plexus the nerve fibers of different spinal nerves are sorted and recombined, so that each peripheral nerve has the correct fibres from each rami.


Which blood vessel is the main supplier of blood to the cervical spine cord?

The vertebral artery


Which bony elements comprise the occipito-cervical junction?

The occipito-cervical joints are comprised of the superior articular surfaces of the lateral masses of the atlas and the occipital condyles.


Which types of movement does the occipito-cervical joint facilitate?

The occipito-cervical joint allows axial rotation, flexion and extension and lateral flexion of the head in relation to the cervical spine.


Name the 3 articulations which are present in the atlanto-axial joint.

The atlanto-odontoid joint with the odontoid process is a central joint serving as a pivot.
The atlanto-axial joints are two lateral joints which are symmetrical and are formed by the inferior surfaces of the lateral masses of the atlas and the superior articular surfaces of the axis.


Which types of movement does the atlanto-axial joint facilitate?

Pivoting movements?


What is the vertebra prominens?

Vertebra prominens is the name of the seventh cervical vertebra. The most distinctive characteristic of this vertebra is the existence of a long and prominent spinous process which is palpable from the skin surface, hence the name.