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Superior View of C3 Vertebra

Surgical Correlation

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Superior view of C3 vertebra. Cervical vertebrae C1 (atlas), C2 (axis), and C7 (vertebra prominens) are considered unique because of distinctive features. Vertebrae C3-C6 share similar features and are considered typical. The body is small relative to other regional vertebrae and attaches to the neural arch via short pedicles. The lateral masses contain superior and inferior articular processes which articulate with adjacent vertebrae. The transverse processes of cervical vertebrae are unique in that they contain foramina through which the vertebral arteries pass. The spinous processes, as shown, tend to be bifurcated, or bifid. The vertebral foramen is large to accommodate the cervical spinal cord. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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