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Spinal Level 

Spinal Level
Chapter:
Spinal Level
Author(s):

Eduardo E. Benarroch

, Jeremy K. Cutsforth-Gregory

, and Kelly D. Flemming

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190209407.003.0015
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date: 22 October 2019

The spinal level includes the vertebral column and its contents. The spinal canal within the vertebral column is the passage formed by the vertebrae. It extends from the foramen magnum of the skull through the sacrum of the spinal column and contains the spinal cord, nerve roots, spinal nerves, meninges, and vascular supply of the spinal cord. Five of the major systems are represented in the spinal canal: the sensory, motor, autonomic, vascular, and cerebrospinal fluid systems. The vascular and cerebrospinal fluid structures are the support systems of the spinal cord. Diseases of the spinal canal involve 1 or more of these systems and produce patterns of disease distinctive to this level. The anatomical and physiologic characteristics of the spinal cord and spinal nerves that permit the identification and localization of diseases in the spinal canal are presented in this chapter.

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