Vertebra prominens (C7)

Dr Tim Luijkx et al.

C7, also called vertebra prominens, is the seventh cervical vertebra and looks like vertebrae C3-C6, but has some distinct features making it an atypical vertebrae. The name vertebra prominens arises from its long spinous process, which is easily palpable. 

Gross anatomy

C7 possesses the standard cervical vertebral features but has some distinct features:

  • spinous process ends in a rounded tubercle and is not bifid
  • C7 transverse foramen are small, and do not transit the vertebral artery
  • C7 anterior tubercle is small, and is the site of attachment for scalenus pleuralis and suprapleural membrane
  • C8 nerve, which does not have an associated cervical vertebra, exits in the C7-T1 vertebral foramen below C7

Variant anatomy

  • C7 may possess a cervical rib
  • C7 foramen may transmit the posterior vertebral vein (if doubled), and may transmit the grey ramus from the inferior cervical ganglion to the anterior ramus of C7
  • vertebral artery may enter at this level (usually it enters the cervical transverse foramina at C6)
Spinal anatomy
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Article information

rID: 30851
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • C7 vertebrae

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