Vertebral foramen

In a typical vertebra, the vertebral foramen is the foramen (opening) formed by the anterior segment (the body), and the posterior part, the vertebral arch.

Vertebral foramen
A typical thoracic vertebra, viewed from above. (Vertebral foramen is the large hole at the center.)
A cervical vertebra. (Vertebral foramen is the large hole at the center.)
Latinforamen vertebrale
Anatomical terms of bone

The vertebral foramen begins at cervical vertebra #1 (C1 or atlas) and continues inferior to lumbar vertebra #5 (L5).

The vertebral foramen houses the spinal cord and its meninges. This large tunnel running up and down inside all of the vertebrae contains the spinal cord and is typically called the spinal canal, not the vertebral foramen.

See also


  • This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)
  • Anatomy figure: 02:01-06 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Superior and lateral views of typical vertebrae"
  • Vertebral foramen - BlueLink Anatomy - University of Michigan Medical School
  • Atlas image: back_bone16 at the University of Michigan Health System - "Typical Lumbar Vertebra, Superior View; Lumbar Vertebral Column, Oblique Lateral View"

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