Intervertebral foramen

Last revised by Francis Deng on 28 Aug 2022

The intervertebral foramina, commonly also called the neural foramina, allow passage of structures out of and into the vertebral canal.

Gross anatomy

  • anterior: lower posterolateral aspect of a vertebral body and the intervertebral disc below, in the thoracic and lumbar regions.
    • in the cervical region a portion of the vertebral body below, predominately the uncinate process, also contributes to the anterior boundary; also, because the pedicle arises more inferiorly from the back of the vertebral body, a small portion of the vertebral body inferior to the disc is also included in the anterior boundary.
  • posterior: facet joint and associated fibrous joint capsule
  • superior: inferior vertebral notch of the pedicle
  • inferior: superior vertebral notch of the pedicle below

Radiographic features


The normal neural exit foramen is said to have an appearance resembling a keyhole on sagittal spinal MRI.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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