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Arteries of the vertebral column: want to learn more about it?

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Arteries of the vertebral column

Learning Objectives

This study unit will allow you to: 

  1. Name the main arteries of the vertebral column and describe their course. 
  2. Identify and locate the arterial branches and the regions they supply. 

Watch video

Although the vertebral column extends from the base of the cranium all the way to the pelvic girdle, its vascular supply remains relatively similar throughout its entirety. Similar intricate vessels supply each vertebra, with the difference lying in their parent arteries which can vary between vertebral regions.

Each vertebra receives its arterial supply from a number of spinal, periosteal and equatorial vessels. The vertebrae of the cervical region primarily receive their arterial supply from the vertebral and ascending cervical arteries. The posterior intercostal arteries supply vertebrae of the thoracic region, the subcostal and lumbar arteries supply vertebrae of the lumbar region, while the vertebrae of the sacral region receive their blood supply from the iliolumbar and lateral and medial sacral arteries.

Find out more about the arteries of the vertebral column by watching the video below.

Take a quiz

So many arteries and branches to remember. Take a quiz to make that knowledge stick!

For a broader range of topics, try out the fully customizable quiz below on the anatomy of the vertebral column. You can even save your selections so that you can quiz yourself later.

Browse atlas

Explore the arteries of the vertebral column in the gallery below.

Summary

Key points about the arteries of the vertebral column
Parent arteries by region Cervical: Vertebral and ascending cervical arteries
Thoracic
: Posterior intercostal arteries
Lumbar: L1-L4
: Subcostal and lumbar arteries L5: Iliolumbar and median sacral arteries
Sacrum
: Iliolumbar and lateral and median sacral arteries
Arteries of isolated vertebra Periosteal branches, equatorial branches, nutrient branches, segmental spinal branches, prelaminar arterial branch, postcentral arterial branch, radicular arteries

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