Articular Processes

The articular processes or zygapophyses (Greek ζυγον = "yoke" (because it links two vertebrae) + απο = "away" + φυσις = "process") of a vertebra, are projections of the vertebra that serve the purpose of fitting with an adjacent vertebra. The actual region of contact is called the articular facet.

Articular processes spring from the junctions of the pedicles and laminæ, and there are two right and left, and two superior and inferior. These stick out of an end of a vertebra to lock with a zygapophysis on the next vertebra, to make the backbone more stable.

  • The superior processes or prezygapophysis project upward from a lower vertebra, and their articular surfaces are directed more or less backward.
  • The inferior processes or postzygapophysis project downward from a higher vertebra, and their articular surfaces are directed more or less forward and outward.

The articular surfaces are coated with hyaline cartilage.

In the cervical vertebral column, the articular processes collectively form the articular pillars. These are the bony surfaces palpated just lateral to the spinous processes, since the cervical spine lacks transverse processes.

Other articles related to "articular processes, processes, articular":

Lumbar Vertebrae - Human Anatomy - General Characteristics - Processes
... The superior and inferior articular processes are well-defined, projecting respectively upward and downward from the junctions of pedicles and laminae ... The facets on the superior processes are concave, and look backward and medialward those on the inferior are convex, and are directed forward and lateralward ... former are wider apart than the latter, since in the articulated column the inferior articular processes are embraced by the superior processes of the subjacent vertebra ...
Dorsal Surface Of Sacrum
... middle sacral crest, surmounted by three or four tubercles, the rudimentary spinous processes of the upper three or four sacral vertebrae ... of the sacral groove is a linear series of tubercles produced by the fusion of the articular processes which together form the indistinct sacral articular crests ... The articular processes of the first sacral vertebra are large and oval in shape their facets are concave from side to side, look backward and medialward, and articulate with the ...
Human Vertebral Column - Regions - Surfaces - Posterior Surface
... presents in the median line the spinous processes ... The spinous processes are separated by considerable intervals in the lumbar region, by narrower intervals in the neck, and are closely approximated in the ... Occasionally one of these processes deviates a little from the median line — a fact to be remembered in practice, as irregularities of this sort are attendant also on fractures or ...

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