Atypical cervical vertebrae

Of the cervical vertebrae, the atlas (C1)axis (C2) and vertebra prominens (C7) are considered atypical cervical vertebrae.

The atlas (C1) lacks a body or spinous process. It has anterior and posterior arches with lateral masses. Its superior articular surfaces articulate with the occiput at the atlanto-occipital joint. Its inferior articular surfaces articulate with the axis at the atlanto-axial joint.

The axis (C2) is unique with an odontoid process (the dens) projecting from its superior surface.

The vertebra prominens (C7) has the longest spinous process of all cervical vertebrae. It is also non-bifid. These features give rise to its name.

For a basic anatomic description of the structure of a generic vertebra, see vertebrae.

Anatomy: Spine
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Article information

rID: 43497
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Atypical cervical vertebra

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