Vertebral body

The vertebral body, or centrum, is the large, cylinder-shaped solid bone that makes up the base of a typical vertebra. It is anterior-facing, meaning that it faces toward the front of the body. Vertebral bodies are stacked one on top of the other to form the main weight-bearing structure of the spinal column.

Years of supporting the upper body and everyday movement cause the vertebral body to put pressure on the spinal discs, which cushion the vertebrae and allow for movement. This pressure is a factor in disc deterioration leading to conditions like bulging and herniated discs. If chronic neck or back pain is affecting your life, learning about spinal anatomy can help you better engage with your physician to get the help you need to return to a full, active life.

The vertebral body and the vertebral arch

In addition to providing the weight-bearing structure of the spine, each vertebral body is also the base of the vertebral arch which protects the spinal cord. This arch is made of outgrowths of bone that extend from the left and right side of the rear the vertebral body. These are the different parts of the arch:

Between each vertebral body is a disc, which is a soft pad of fibrocartilage that functions as a shock absorber for the spine. As we age these discs begin to degenerate and become brittle, a condition diagnosed as degenerative disc disease.

Treating spine issues

Any rupture, swelling or collapse of the discs can affect the vertebral body and the spinal column. Without disc cushioning, vertebral bodies can rub together and encourage the growth of bone spurs that can pinch spinal nerves. Additionally, damaged disc material can compress nerve roots and the spinal cord, causing painful symptoms.

Nerve compression related to a degenerative spine condition or injury is often first treated with a course of physician recommended conservative methods including rest, physical therapy, massage and exercise. Surgery can become an option if these methods don’t relieve enough pain to resume normal activities.

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that is an alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery. Our patients enjoy a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication than traditional procedures because our surgeons use a muscle-sparing, less than 1-inch incision.

Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.