Spinous Process of Vertebra

Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 13 December 2020

Spinous Process of Vertebra

The structure indicated is the spinous process of the vertebra.

The typical vertebra consists of the following features:

  • Vertebral body
  • Vertebral arch (neural arch) consisting of lamina and pedicle
  • Spinous process
  • Transverse process
  • Vertebral foramen (collectively form vertebral canal)
  • Superior and inferior articular processes
  • Superior and inferior vertebral notches

The vertebral arch extends posteriorly from the vertebral body, comprised of two pedicles which extend from the posterolateral aspects of the vertebral body to join the two laminae on either side which complete the vertebral arch and enclose the vertebral foramen. Projecting posteriorly in the midline from the vertebral arch is the spinous process, which varies in morphology depending on the location in the spinal column. The spinous processes serves as points of attachment for several ligaments and muscles.

Learn more about the anatomy of the vertebrae in this tutorial.