Cervical Anatomy and Pathology - Spinal Canal

Closeup of the spinal canal in the cervical spine.

Axial closeup view of the spinal canal

Axial close–up view of the spinal canal of a cervical spinal specimen from an elderly adult who had no symptoms from the cervical spine. The neck of the cadaver had been positioned in moderate extension before it was frozen in situ. Compared to SLIDE 4 (a spine frozen in flexion), the epidural and foraminal veins in this specimen are completely emptied of blood. The following components contribute to the central spinal canal compromise: 1. retrolistheses of the upper vertebrae due to the oblique inclination of the facet joints in the sagittal plane, 2. thickening of the interlaminar ligamentum flavum (by relaxation and/or volume redistribution) and 3. an osteophyte projecting posteriorly from the lower endplate of the vertebra above. This osteophyte exerts compression on the anterior tracts of the spinal cord on the right side. In the foramina (root canals) the roots are severely compressed because the (wedge–shaped) upper articular process of the vertebra below intrudes into the foramen, pushing the root against the uncovertebral joint osteophytes. The compression by the uncovertebral spondylophyte is exerted on the anteriorly located motor root, to a lesser extent on the dorsal sensory bundle. The root lies in a groove and cannot yield to an anterior compression (see SLIDE 5).

Updated on: 11/05/18

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