Cervical Vertebrae

There are seven cervical vertebrae of which the first two are atypical. All cervical vertebrae have openings in their transverse processes, the transverse foramina, which, when aligned, produce a canal that transmits the vertebral artery and vein (Figure IU-1-1).

Atlas

This is the first cervical vertebra (Cl). It has no body and leaves a space to accommodate the dens of the second cervical vertebra.

This is the second cervical vertebra (C2). It has a tooth-shaped process, the dens (odontoid process), which articulates with the adas as a pivot joint. Movement at this joint allows lateral rotation of the head.

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