Revision 6 for 'Spinal anatomy'

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Spinal anatomy

Spinal anatomy encompasses the anatomy of all osseous and soft-tissue structures of the spine and its immediate surroundings. However, the structures related to the spinal cord are covered in our neuroanatomy section.

Overview

The spine is located in the midline posteriorly, extending from the base of the skull to natal cleft, supporting the head, shoulder girdle, rib cage, and attaching to the pelvis. 

It is composed of 24 vertebrae separated by intervertebral discs, with additional sacral and coccygeal segments which are usually, but variably, fused. The vertebrae are grouped together into groups based on similar osteology and regional relations; cervical spine (7 vertebrae), thoracic spine (12 vertebrae) and lumbar spine (5 vertebrae). The sacrum has five fused vertebral segments, and the coccyx has a further 3 to 5 vertebral segments. 

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