Radiographic anatomy of the intervertebral cervical and lumbar foramina (vessels and variants)

Diagn Interv Imaging. 2012 Sep;93(9):690-697. doi: 10.1016/j.diii.2012.07.008. Epub 2012 Aug 9.


The intervertebral foramen is an orifice located between any two adjacent vertebrae that allows communication between the spinal (or vertebral) canal and the extraspinal region. Although the intervertebral foramina serve as the path traveled by spinal nerve roots, vascular structures, including some that play a role in vascularization of the spinal cord, take the same path. Knowledge of this vascularization and of the origin of the arteries feeding it is essential to all radiologists performing interventional procedures. The objective of this review is to survey the anatomy of the intervertebral foramina in the cervical and lumbar spines and of spinal cord vascularization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Spinal Cord / blood supply
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging*