Articular processes

Articular processes
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A cervical vertebra. (Superior and inferior processes labeled at right.)
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A thoracic vertebra. (Superior labeled at top; inferior labeled at bottom.)
Details
Identifiers
LatinProcessus articularis inferior vertebrae,
processus articularis superior vertebrae
TA98A02.2.01.014
A02.2.01.016
TA21027, 1029
FMA11952
Anatomical terms of bone

The articular processes or zygapophyses (Greek ζυγον = "yoke" (because it links two vertebrae) + απο = "away" + φυσις = "process") of a vertebra are projections of the vertebra that serve the purpose of fitting with an adjacent vertebra. The actual region of contact is called the articular facet.

Articular processes spring from the junctions of the pedicles and laminæ, and there are two right and left, and two superior and inferior. These stick out of an end of a vertebra to lock with a zygapophysis on the next vertebra, to make the backbone more stable.

  • The superior processes or prezygapophysis project upward from a lower vertebra, and their articular surfaces are directed more or less backward (oblique coronal plane).
  • The inferior processes or postzygapophysis project downward from a higher vertebra, and their articular surfaces are directed more or less forward and outward.

The articular surfaces are coated with hyaline cartilage.

In the cervical vertebral column, the articular processes collectively form the articular pillars. These are the bony surfaces palpated just lateral to the spinous processes.

Additional images

See also



This page was last updated at 2022-11-26 01:17 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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