noun, plural: intervertebral foramina
The intervertebral foramen refers to the opening formed between adjacent vertebrae. In human vertebral column, the intervertebral foramina are present in cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae, particularly in every pair of vertebrae in these regions.
The intervertebral foramen is bounded anteriorly by lower posterolateral aspect of a vertebral body and the intervertebral disc. Its posterior boundary is the facet joint and associated fibrous joint capsule. The superior boundary is the inferior vertebral notch of the pedicle whereas the inferior boundary is the superior vertebral notch of the pedicle.1 Several structures pass through these foramina, e.g. the spinal nerves root the spinal artery of the segmental spinal arteries, the dorsal root ganglion, recurrent meningeal (sinuvertebral) nerve, and intervertebral veins.1
The size of the foramina varies depending on the placement, the posture, and the spinal loading.Certain conditions may lead to the occlusion of the foramen. Arthritic degenerative changes as well as the presence of lesions such as tumors, metastases, and spinal disc herniations are some of the possible causes that could lead to the occlusion of the foramina.1
Abbreviation / Acronym:
- IV foramen
- foramen intervertebrale
- neural foramen