Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Neck Ruptured Disk Anatomy

To better understand disk disease neck, it helps to understand the anatomy of the cervical spine.

The neck contains many important structures. The trachea, esophagus, spinal cord and large blood vessels run through the neck.

The neck also contains 7 stacked spine bones called vertebrae. This column of bones starts under the skull and continues to the upper back.

Bones of the cervical spine:

  • Bones of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine
  • Cervical spine side view
  • Cervical spine back view
  • Cervical spine front view

Inside the spinal column is a tube for the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a thick bundle of nerves that starts at the bottom of the brain. It carries information back and forth between the body and the brain.

In between the vertebrae are the disks. The disks act as rubber pads in between each vertebrae of the spine. Each disk attaches to the bottom of the vertebra above it, and to the top of the vertebrae below it. Strong ligaments and muscles hold the vertebral column together. These structures support, surround, and protect the spinal cord.

Anatomy examples:
  • The vertebral disks
  • Spinal nerves exiting the spinal column in the neck
  • Spinal cord and nerves
  • View of disks and ligaments

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Neck Ruptured Disk References
  1. Bertagnoli R, Duggal N, Pickett GE, Wigfield CC, Gill SS, Karg A, Voigt S. Cervical total disc replacement, part two: clinical results. Orthop Clin North Am. 2005 Jul;36(3):355-62. [15950695]
  2. Heller JG, Schimandle JH. Operative treatment of degenerative cervical disk disease. J South Orthop Assoc. 1996 Fall;5(3):188-206. [8884707]
  3. Schimandle JH, Heller JG. Nonoperative treatment of degenerative cervical disk disease. J South Orthop Assoc. 1996 Fall;5(3):207-12. [8884708]
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