Intervertebral foramen

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Intervertebral foramen
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.)
Latinforamen intervertebrale (pl. foramina intervertebralia)
Anatomical terms of bone

The intervertebral foramen (also neural foramen) (often abbreviated as IV foramen or IVF) is an opening between (the intervertebral notches of[1]) two pedicles (one above and one below) of adjacent vertebra in the articulated spine.[2]: 424, 425  Each intervertebral foramen gives passage to a spinal nerve and spinal blood vessels, and lodges a posterior (dorsal) root ganglion.[2]: 425  Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae all have intervertebral foramina.[citation needed]



In the thoracic region and lumbar region, each vertebral foramen is additionally bounded anteriorly by (the inferior portion of) the body of vertebra (particularly in the thoracic region) and adjacent intervertebral disc (particularly in the lumbar region).[2]: 425 

In the cervical region, a small part of the body of vertebra inferior to the intervertebral disc also forms the anterior boundary of the IVF (due to the fact that the junction of the pedicle with the body of vertebra is situated somewhat more inferiorly on the body).[2]: 425 


A number of structures pass through the IVF: spinal nerve roots, a recurrent meningeal nerve,[3] radicular arteries (where present),[4][2]: 492–493  segmental medullary arteries (where present),[4] intervertebral veins,[5] and lymphatic vessels.[3]

The posterior (dorsal) root ganglion is situated within the IVF.[2]: 425  The adipose tissue of the spinal epidural space extends into the IVF. The spinal dura mater extends laterally with each departing spinal nerve, reaching into the IVF.[2]: 453  Transforaminal ligaments (when present) extend through the IFV.[3]

Clinical significance[edit]

Foramina can be occluded by arthritic degenerative changes and space-occupying lesions like tumors, metastases, and spinal disc herniations.[citation needed]


Public domain This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 96 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ "incisura vertebralis". Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sinnatamby CS (2011). Last's Anatomy (12th ed.). Elsevier Australia. ISBN 978-0-7295-3752-0.
  3. ^ a b c Umeh R, Fisahn C, Burgess B, Iwanaga J, Moisi M, Oskouian RJ, Tubbs RS (October 2016). "Transforaminal Ligaments of the Lumbar Spine: A Comprehensive Review". Cureus. 8 (10): e811. doi:10.7759/cureus.811. PMC 6706257. PMID 31463168.
  4. ^ a b Waschke, Jens; Böckers, Tobias M.; Paulsen, Friedrich; Arnold, Wolfgang; Bechmann, Ingo, eds. (2018). Sobotta Anatomy Textbook: English Edition with Latin Nomenclature (1st ed.). München: Elsevier. p. 623. ISBN 978-0-7020-6760-0.
  5. ^ Gray H (1918). Gray's Anatomy (20th ed.). p. 669.

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