Spinal cord: Topographical and functional anatomy


Antoine Micheau - MD , Denis Hoa - MD

Published on

Wednesday 13 March 2019



Anatomical parts

Spinal cord: Topographical and functional anatomy

This atlas of human anatomy deals with the spinal cord through 18 anatomical diagrams comprising 270 anatomical structures including captions.


It is designed to be of particular interest to physiotherapists, osteopaths, rheumatologists, neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and general practitioners, especially for the study and understanding of medullary diseases.


Illustrations of the anatomy of the spinal cord

These original illustrations were produced from medical imaging data reconstructed in 3D and from histological and anatomo-pathological sections of the spinal cord.


All these original anatomical diagrams were produced by Dr. Antoine Micheau.


Anatomical structures of the spinal cord captioned

270 anatomical structures of the spinal cord were captioned, subdivided into different chapters:

  • The first image shows the different segments of the spinal cord (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal segments), the emergence of spinal nerves (cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral nerves and coccyx at the level of the cauda equina and filum terminale) and the sectional aspect of the spinal cord with changes in diameter at the cervical and lumbosacral bulges.


Anatomy - Spinal cord : Cervical enlargement,  Lumbosacral enlargement,  Medullary cone,  Spinal part of filum terminale, Cauda equina, Spinal nerves

Anatomy , Spinal cord : Illustrations: A. Micheau - MD


  • The second illustration of the spinal cord schematised in 3-dimensions the white matter cords, the grey columns and the horns of the spinal cord.


Funiculi of spinal cord - Anatomy - Illustrations: A. Micheau - MD : Grey columns, Central canal, Anterior median fissure; Ventral median fissure, Posterior horn; Dorsal horn, White substance

Funiculi of spinal cord : Drawings , E-anatomy - Imaios


  • Next, the user will find anatomical sections of the spinal cord at different levels: cervical spinal cord (C2, C5), thoracic spinal cord (T10), lumbar spinal cord (L3) and sacral spinal cord (S3).


Anatomy : Spinal cord, Funiculi of spinal cord, Tectospinal tract, Anterior funiculus; Ventral funiculus, Cuneate fasciculus, Gracile fasciculus

Human anatomy : Spinal cord , Illustrations: A. Micheau - MD


  • A diagram summarises the composition of white matter cords of the spinal cord with the different tracts (fasciculus gracilis (Goll's), wedge-shaped beam (Burdach's), corticospinal tract, spinocerebellar tract...).
  • The anatomy of the grey matter of the spinal cord is summarised in a diagram with the various grey matter nuclei (note that this representation is virtual because some nuclei are only present at some levels between them but are displayed on a single cross-sectional diagram).
  • The 10 spinal laminae of the spinal cord are shown in a second diagram dedicated to the grey matter of the spinal cord.
  • Next, two axial sections of the spinal cord and adjacent structures allow the organisation of a spinal nerve to be displayed with its various branches (sensitive posterior root, anterior motor root, meningeal branch, muscular branches, intercostal nerves...) and represent the different spaces and meninges covering the spinal cord (epidural space, subdural space, subarachnoid space, pia mater, spinal dura, arachnoid spinal...)
  • The arterial supply of the spinal cord is shown three different illustrations: an anterolateral view of the thoracic spine showing the emergence of the anterior spinal artery from the root and intercostal arteries), an axial section showing the branches of costal arteries destined for spinal cord and muscle and finally an overview of the arterial vascularisation to understand the substitution networks between the anterior and posterior spinal arteries as well as the role of the anterior segmental medullary artery (Adamkiewicz' artery).


Spinal cord - Arteries - Anatomy : Anterior spinal artery, Anterior segmental medullary artery (Adamkiewicz), Posterior intercostal arteries, Posterior spinal artery

Arteries , Spinal cord : Illustrations


  • The venous vasculature is shown on an anatomical section at the thoracic level (anterior and posterior spinal veins, basivertebral veins, vertebral venous plexus...)


Veins of spinal cord - Anatomy atlas - Imaios - E-anatomy : Anterior spinal veins, Spinal dura mater, Epidural space, Spinal pia mater, Azygos vein, Spinal vein; Spinal branch

Anatomy , Diagram : Spinal cord , Veins


  •  The dermatomes of various cervical spinal nerves, thoracic, lumbar and sacral are diagrammed in anterior and posterior views of the human body.


Dermatomes - Spinal nerves : C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 Co L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 T1 T10 T11 T12 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9

Human anatomy : Dermatomes , Spinal nerves


  • The final diagram represents a reflex arc.


Reflex arc : Spinal nerve, Posterior root; Sensory root; Dorsal root, Anterior root; Motor root; Ventral root, Effector

Reflex arc : Medical illustrations


Language and terminology for the study of the anatomy of the spinal cord

We have used the Terminologia Anatomica to caption all the anatomical structures, with translations into English, French, Japanese and Spanish.

Download e-Anatomy

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