Spinal cord

Dr Sachintha Hapugoda and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The spinal cord is the part of the central nervous system that is found within the vertebral canal of the vertebral column. 

Gross anatomy

It measures approximately 42-45 cm in length, ~1 cm in diameter and 35 g in weight. 

It is divided into cervical, thoracic and lumbar parts and terminates at the conus medullaris at approximately the T12/L1 vertebral body level. 

The spinal cord is segmented by the nerve roots that emerge from it. There are 31 nerve roots in total:

  • 8 cervical
  • 12 thoracic
  • 5 lumbar
  • 5 sacral
  • 1 coccygeal

Like the brain, there is grey and white matter, however, opposite to the brain, the grey matter is on the internal aspect of the cord and the white matter tracts are external.

Blood supply

See spinal cord blood supply.

Neuroanatomy
Spinal anatomy
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Article information

rID: 25075
Section: Anatomy
Tags: refs, craig
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Spinal cord anatomy

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: normal MRI appearance
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    Posterolateral vi...
    Figure 1
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    Superior view of ...
    Figure 2: vertebra
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    Spinal tracts. Im...
    Figure 3: spinal tracts
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    Figure 4: spinal cord cross section (Gray's illustration)
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    Figure 5: spinal cord cross section (Gray's illustration)
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    Figure 4: spinal cord cross section lateral view (Gray's illustration)
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    Figure 6: spinal cord cross section at different levels (Gray's illustration)
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    Figure 7: arterial supply
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    Figure 8: spinal tracts
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