C7 (7th Cervical Vertebra)

The C7 vertebra, or vertebra prominens, is the seventh and last of the cervical vertebrae positioned at the top of the spine. As the most caudal of the cervical vertebrae, it is directly connected to the thoracic vertebrae at the T1 vertebra. Generally, the C7 vertebra is much like the C3-C6 vertebrae. It is smaller and more flexible than the other true vertebrae caudal to it, but it has a larger triangular vertebral foramen to protect the nerves of the spinal cord. The C7 has thin lamina on...

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    Full C7 (7th Cervical Vertebra) Description

    [Continued from above] . . . either side of the vertebral arch. Unlike the other cervical vertebrae, the two transverse foramina of the C7 vertebra permit the passage of the sympathetic nerves and vertebral vein but not the vertebral artery away from the spinal column and out to the body. Additionally, the spinous process of the C7 is more elongated than that of the other cervical vertebrae. For this reason, it is sometimes called the vertebra prominens. Whereas the spinous processes of the other C3-C6 vertebrae are typically bifid (notched), the C7 is additionally non-bifid and bulbous at the spinous process. The C7 vertebra has the smallest foramina of all the cervical vertebrae. Its centrum or ventral body is concave on top and convex below to mate properly with the C6 vertebra above and the T1 below, with intervertebral discs between providing support and cushioning for smooth articulation of these joints of the backbone.