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.

Elsevier
Publish with us
Seventh Cervical Vertebra
Skeletal System

Seventh Cervical Vertebra

Vertebra cervicalis septima

Read more

Quick Facts

Location: Vertebral column.

Bone Type: Irregular bone.

Key Features: Vertebral body, laminae, pedicles, superior and inferior articular processes, and transverse and spinous processes.

Articulates With: Sixth cervical and first thoracic vertebrae.

Arterial Supply: Vertebral arteries.

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

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The seventh cervical vertebra (vertebra C7 or vertebra prominens) is one of the seven cervical vertebrae of the vertebral column. It is considered an atypical cervical vertebra because some of its features differ to those of typical cervical vertebrae, such as the presence of a long, nonbifid spinous process. The seventh cervical vertebra is classified as an irregular bone, and it includes the following bony features:

- parts: vertebral body, laminae, pedicles, superior and inferior articular processes, and transverse and spinous processes;

- surfaces: superior and inferior intervertebral surfaces, superior and inferior annular epiphyses, and vertebral arch;

- landmarks: superior and inferior vertebral notches, anterior and posterior tubercles, uncinate processes, and superior and inferior articular facets.

More information regarding these and other bony features can be found in the Parts, Surfaces, and Landmarks tabs for this bone.

The seventh cervical vertebra is located:

- superior to the first thoracic vertebra;

- inferior to the sixth cervical vertebra.

It articulates with the sixth cervical and first thoracic vertebrae at the intervertebral symphyses and zygapophyseal joints.

Ossification

Ossification of all typical cervical vertebrae occurs at eight ossification centers, these are found in the:

- vertebral body, which appears in utero during the second to fourth months;

- right and left halves of the vertebral arch, with one center found in each, which appear in utero during the third month;

- right and left transverse processes, with one center found in each, which appear during puberty;

- spinous process, which appears during puberty;

- superior and inferior annular epiphyses, with one center found in each, which appear during puberty.

The ossification centers for the right and left halves of the vertebral arch fuse with each other during the first year after birth. The vertebral arch fuses with the vertebral body during the third year. The remaining centers fuse with the vertebral arch and body during early adulthood (Standring, 2016).

Variations

In some individuals:

- the spinous process may be present in a bifid form;

- the uncinate processes may be absent;

- a pair of cervical ribs may be present (Tubbs, Shoja and Loukas, 2016).

Surface Anatomy

The prominent spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra can be palpated, especially during flexion of the neck.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Fracture

- Osteoporosis

- Spinal stenosis

- Scoliosis

- Dislocation

- Spina bifida

References

Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edn.: Elsevier Limited.

Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M. and Loukas, M. (2016) Bergman's Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation. Wiley.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Seventh Cervical Vertebra

ScienceDirect image

It is considered a continuation of the superior spinous and interspinous ligaments from the spine of the seventh cervical vertebra through the external occipital protuberans.

Explore on ScienceDirectopens in new tab/window

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy