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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1991 Aug;16(8):861-9.

Cervical human vertebrae. Quantitative three-dimensional anatomy of the middle and lower regions.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


In this study, the three-dimensional quantitative anatomy of middle and lower cervical vertebrae was determined. The three-dimensional coordinates of various marked points on the surface of the vertebra were measured with a specially designed morphometer instrument. From these coordinates, linear dimensions, angulations, and areas of surfaces and cross-sections of most vertebral components were calculated. The results showed two distinct transition regions: 1) toward the thoracic spine by the wider C7 vertebra but narrower spinal canal; and 2) toward the upper cervical region with the larger pedicle and spinous process of C2. Based on the study of 72 human cervical vertebrae, mean and standard error of the mean values of some clinically important dimensions of vertebral body, spinal canal, pedicles, transverse processes, spinous process, and uncovertebral joints are given for C2-C7 vertebrae. The areas of the end plates, spinal canal, and pedicles were modeled by elliptical and triangular shapes, and results were compared with the actual measurements.

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