Typical cervical vertebrae

There are seven cervical vertebrae (C1 - C7) forming the part of the vertebral column extending between the skull and the thorax.

There are three cervical vertebrae that are considered atypical because of their distinguishing features, and these are the atlas (C1), axis (C2), and the vertebra prominens (C7).

The remaining vertebrae C3 - C6 are typical. Typical cervical vertebrae are characterized mainly by their small size and the presence of a foramen in each transverse process - transverse foramina. Their spinous processes are typically short and bifid (split).

The typical cervical vertebrae have two tubercles - anterior and posterior. A spinal nerve groove is located between the anterior and posterior tubercle.

The superior and inferior articular processes have merged on one or both sides, forming the articular pillar. It contains the superior and inferior articular surfaces.

Note, that the sixth cervical vetebra (C6) has a distinguishing feature - a bony prominence called the carotid tubercle on each transverse process.