Coccyx; coccygeal vertebrae [I-IV] - Os coccygis; Coccyx vertebrae coccygeae [I-IV]

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General Anatomy > Bones; Skeletal system > Axial skeleton > Vertebral column > Coccyx; coccygeal vertebrae [I-IV]

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Translations

Description

The coccyx is usually formed of four rudimentary vertebræ; the number may however be increased to five or diminished to three. In each of the first three segments may be traced a rudimentary body and articular and transverse processes; the last piece (sometimes the third) is a mere nodule of bone. All the segments are destitute of pedicles, laminæ, and spinous processes. The first is the largest; it resembles the lowest sacral vertebra, and often exists as a separate piece; the last three diminish in size from above downward, and are usually fused with one another.

The anterior surface is slightly concave, and marked with three transverse grooves which indicate the junctions of the different segments. It gives attachment to the anterior sacrococcygeal ligament and the Levatores ani, and supports part of the rectum. The posterior surface is convex, marked by transverse grooves similar to those on the anterior surface, and presents on either side a linear row of tubercles, the rudimentary articular processes of the coccygeal vertebræ. Of these, the superior pair are large, and are called the coccygeal cornua; they project upward, and articulate with the cornua of the sacrum, and on either side complete the foramen for the transmission of the posterior division of the fifth sacral nerve.

The lateral borders are thin, and exhibit a series of small eminences, which represent the transverse processes of the coccygeal vertebræ. Of these, the first is the largest; it is flattened from before backward, and often ascends to join the lower part of the thin lateral edge of the sacrum, thus completing the foramen for the transmission of the anterior division of the fifth sacral nerve; the others diminish in size from above downward, and are often wanting. The borders of the coccyx are narrow, and give attachment on either side to the sacrotuberous and sacrospinous ligaments, to the Coccygeus in front of the ligaments, and to the Glutæus maximus behind them.

The base presents an oval surface for articulation with the sacrum.

The apex is rounded, and has attached to it the tendon of the Sphincter ani externus. It may be bifid, and is sometimes deflected to one or other side.


This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from http://www.bartleby.com/107/).

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