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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 228-235

Clinical anatomy and significance of the thoracic intervertebral foramen: A cadaveric study and review of the literature


1 Department of Anatomy, Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece
2 Department of Medical Statistics, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece

Correspondence Address:
Stylianos Kapetanakis
Department of Anatomy, Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis 68100
Greece
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-8237.193266

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Introduction: The literature is lacking information on the anatomy and the osseous dimensions of the thoracic intervertebral foramen (IVF). We describe the anatomy of the broader area, and we proceed with morphometric data of the vertebrae and the foramina. Depiction of these features is provided with imaging and illustrations. The purpose of this paper is to survey and present the anatomy of the foramen as a whole and provide baseline statistical data. Materials and Methods: We review relevant literature, and we present data obtained from skeletal samples of known population and sex. One hundred and nineteen thoracic vertebrae of ten cadaveric spines from the prefecture of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Greece, were selected. Statistical analysis measuring the vertical height and the foraminal width of each vertebra was made in accordance with sex. Results: No statistically important differences referring to the descriptive data of both sexes were found. However, statistically, important positive correlation between the vertebral height and the foraminal width was observed, especially for men. The components of the foramen including arteries and veins passing through or neighboring it, and the spinal nerves and roots are described and depicted. Conclusions: The osseous thoracic IVF reveals a glimpse of the in vivo structure and alterations of its width may be present in back pain and other degenerative diseases. Although it is crucial for surgeries and other interventional procedures of the thoracic spine, little is known about the precise anatomy and dimensions of this anatomical landmark.


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