Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Costovertebral Joints (Left)
Connective Tissue

Costovertebral Joints (Left)

Articulationes costovertebrales

Read more


The costovertebral joints refer to the synovial articulations between the ribs and the vertebrae. They include the joints of the head of the ribs and the costotransverse joints.

The joints of the head of the ribs are formed where the facets (or demifacets) of the head of the rib articulate with their corresponding vertebral body, the body of the vertebra above, and the intervening intervertebral discs. For example, the fifth rib articulates with the superior costal facet of the body of the fifth vertebra, the inferior costal facet of the body of the fourth vertebra, and the intervertebral disc between these vertebrae. Note that the heads of the 1st, 10th (sometimes), 11th, and 12th ribs only articulate with one vertebral body of the same number. The joints of the head of the ribs are reinforced by the radiate ligaments. Additionally, an intraarticular ligament bisects the synovial joint in two. The first, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth ribs only articulate with its corresponding vertebral body, thus producing only a single synovial joint.

The costotransverse joint refers to the synovial articulation of the facet of the costal tubercle on the neck of the rib with the transverse processes of a corresponding vertebra. The 11th and 12th ribs lack this articulation. The joint is reinforced by the costotransverse, superior costotransverse, and lateral costotransverse ligaments. There is usually an accessory ligament found medial to the superior costotransverse ligament, but its attachment is often variable.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Costovertebral Joints

ScienceDirect image

The costovertebral joint in the thoracic spine is the juncture at which the head of a rib articulates with the vertebral body of a thoracic vertebra.

Explore on ScienceDirect(opens in new tab/window)

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy