What is the anatomy of the spine relevant to spinal tumors?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Andrew A Sama, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Answer

The spine consists of 33 vertebrae that form the bony spinal column. The spinal column can be divided into the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacrococcygeal regions. Although morphologically distinct, each vertebra in the subaxial cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine has a complex architecture, consisting of a vertebral body, pedicles, laminae, and spinous and transverse processes.

The bony canal provides protection and support to the fragile spinal cord and nerve roots within the dural sac. The soft tissues surrounding the bony spine vary by location from the thick dorsal paraspinous musculature to the vital organs and vessels within the mediastinal, thoracic, peritoneal, and retroperitoneal spaces.


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