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Spinal fusion - series—Normal anatomy

Normal anatomy

Overview

The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column, which surrounds and protects the spinal cord. The intervertebral disks are soft tissues that sit between each vertebrae and act as cushions between vertebrae, and absorb energy while the spinal column flexes, extends, and twists. Nerves from the spinal cord exit the spinal column between each vertebra.

Review Date 9/8/2014

Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team