The vertebral column serves as the central supporting structure for the head and trunk and provides bony protection for the spinal cord. It consists of 33 vertebrae: 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral (fused to form the sacrum), and 4 coccygeal, which are usually fused ( Fig 248-1).
FIG. 248-1. The vertebral column. There are three vertebrae divided into cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygial.
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