What is the anatomy of spinal blood supply relevant to dermatomes?

Updated: Oct 13, 2017
  • Author: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Thomas R Gest, PhD  more...
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Answer

Answer

The spinal cord and its associated spinal nerves are supplied by a single anterior spinal artery and 2 posterior spinal arteries. The anterior spinal artery supplies the anterior two thirds of the cord. The posterior spinal arteries supply the dorsal columns. All three spinal arteries arise from the vertebral arteries in the skull and descend through the base of the skull. Segmental branches of the thoracic and abdominal aorta have radicular branches that anastomose with the spinal arteries to provide additional blood supply to the spinal arteries. One of the largest radicular branches, the great radicular artery or artery of Adamkiewicz, supplies the anterior spinal artery, which enters the spinal cord between T5 and L1, with the most common entry point between T9 and T12.


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