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Mark A. Wolgin, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon

Specialist (Fellowship Trained) in Spinal and Foot/Ankle Surgery, Albany, GA, Office Phone 229-883-4707

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Cervical Anatomy
 
 
 
 
 
The cervical spine includes the first seven vertebrae. Located between the head and the relatively stiff thoracic spine, the cervical spine can be subject to both wear and tear problems (degenerative) as well as trauma (injury).
 
 
 
On this normal xray, to the left, you will note that the disc spaces are all about the same thickness at each level, and there is a gentle curve, hollow to the back of the neck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Important features of the cervical spine are shown on these MRI images, with normal to the right, and an example with disc bulges below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This MRI image is from a cross section of the neck, as if there was a cut with a guillotine.
 
The orientation of the picture is that the front is towards the top, and the back is towards the bottom of the image.
 
Note that the disc, which is between the spinal bones, is right in the middle of the soft tissue mass of the neck, which helps with balance.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This illustration below shows how the cuts through the spine, like slicing a salami, go through the foramen (hole through which nerve exits, here marked B) or through the bone (slice here labelled A).
 
An example of slice A through the bone:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
An example of slice B through the foramen (hole through which nerve exits):