The vertebral body is the large, cylinder-shaped, solid bone on most vertebrae. It is anterior-facing, meaning that it faces toward the front of the body, rather than toward the back.
Behind each vertebral body, there is a passageway through which the spinal cord travels. This passageway is formed by a vertebral arch, which is made up of bony projections like the pedicles and lamina. Branching off of this arch are the transverse process and the spinous process, all of which basically help muscles and ligaments attach to the vertebrae.
Vertebral bodies are stacked, one on top of the other, and this creates the structure of the spinal column. Because of the large size of the vertebral body in relation to the vertebral arch, it provides the spine with a structural support system that helps us walk, stand, sit, and bend. Between each vertebral body (also called a centrum) is an intervertebral 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 commonly referred to as degenerative disc disease.
Any rupture, swelling, or collapse of the intervertebral 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. Furthermore, damaged disc material can impinge on nerve roots and the spinal cord, causing more discomfort and disability.
Laser Spine Institute (LSI) offers several state-of-the-art, endoscopic procedures that are minimally-invasive and are performed on an outpatient basis. Contact us today for more information or for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.