Landmarks of vertebral column

  • C1 transverse process is palpable between the mastoid process of temporal bone and the angle of mandibule.
  • C2 spinous process is palpable just below the skull on deep pressure.
  • C3 level is located at this same horizontal plane as the superior border of the thyroid cartilage which is visible in the front of neck as the laryngeal prominence.
  • C6 the anterior tubercle is palpable on the level of the cricoid cartilage and the common carotid artery runs anterior to it. For this reason the anterior tubercle of the 6th cervical vertebra is called carotid tubercle.
  • C7 spinous process is notable due to the nonbifi d spine of prominens bulges out the skin at the nape of the neck especially when the neck is fl exed. For this reason the 7th cervical vertebra is known as the vertebra prominens.

Clinical comments

During bleeding from the common carotid artery, first aid guidelines recommend pressing this artery on the carotid tubercle to stop bleeding.