Intervertebral foramina

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Intervertebral foramina
Peculiar thoracic vertebrae. Intervertebral foramina are indicated by arrows.
Sacrum, pelvic surface. (The two columns of four holes are the intervertebral foramina of sacrum, visible but not labeled.)
Latin foramen intervertebrale (pl. foramina intervertebralia)
Gray's p.96
Anatomical terms of bone

When the spinal vertebrae are articulated with each other the bodies form a strong pillar for the support of the head and trunk, and the vertebral foramen constitutes a canal for the protection of the medulla spinalis (spinal cord). Between every pair of vertebrae are two apertures (openings), the intervertebral foramina (singular: foramen; also called neural foramina and often abbreviated as IV foramina or IVF). The foramina allows for the passage of the spinal nerve root, dorsal root ganglion, the spinal artery of the segmental artery, communicating veins between the internal and external plexuses, recurrent meningeal (sinu-vertebral) nerves, and transforaminal ligaments.

Their size is variable due to placement, pathology, spinal loading, and posture. They can be occluded by arthritic degenerative changes and space-occupying lesions like tumors, metastases and spinal disc herniations.

Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae all have intervertebral foramina.

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This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.