Cervical Anatomy and Pathology - Severely Degenerated Upper Cervical Spine

Closeup view displaying advanced uncovertebral spondylosis
Closeup view of a severely degenerated upper cervical spinal segment displaying advanced uncovertebral spondylosis and slight facet joint arthrosis. The sclerotic uncinate process is oriented in the sagittal plane and osteophytes project laterally toward the vertebral artery and posteriorly into the root canal. Medially in the canal the motor root and the radicular arteries are encroached on. The cylindrical, (darker) dorsal root ganglion is buttressed in their notches at the anterior surface of the superior articular processes. Note the location of the vertebral artery immediately anterior to the ganglion. The epidural and periradicular veins are small in this specimen. The orientation of the uncinate process and its relationships to the radicular structures and its contribution to neurovascular compromise is essential for surgical decompression such as uncoforaminotomy. Most degenerated specimens displayed significant "anterior" encroachment emanating from the uncovertebral region. Facet joint osteophytes were usually small and rarely projected into the root canals.


©2000 Wolfgang Rauschning, MD, PhD
Professor of Clinical Anatomy
Academic University Hospital
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Uppsala, Sweden
Reproduction without permission is prohibited

Updated on: 02/01/10

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