The articular processes or zygapophyses ( Greek ζυγον = "
yoke A yoke is a wooden beam Beam may refer to: Streams of particles or energy *Light beam, or beam of light, a directional projection of light energy **Laser beam *Particle beam, a stream of charged or neutral particles **Charged particle beam ...

" (because it links two vertebrae) + απο = "away" + φυσις = "-physis, process") of a vertebra are projections of the vertebra that serve the purpose of fitting with an adjacent vertebra. The actual region of contact is called the ''articular facet''.Moore, Keith L. et al. (2010) ''Clinically Oriented Anatomy'', 6th Ed, p.442 fig. 4.2 Articular processes spring from the junctions of the Pedicle of vertebral arch, pedicles and Lamina of the vertebral arch, laminæ, and there are two right and left, and two superior and inferior. These stick out of an end of a vertebra to lock with a zygapophysis on the next vertebra, to make the Vertebral column, backbone more stable. * The superior processes or prezygapophysis project upward from a lower vertebra, and their articular surfaces are directed more or less backward (oblique coronal plane). * The inferior processes or postzygapophysis project downward from a higher vertebra, and their articular surfaces are directed more or less forward and outward. The articular surfaces are coated with hyaline cartilage. In the cervical vertebral column, the articular processes collectively form the articular pillars. These are the bony surfaces palpated just lateral to the spinous processes.

Additional images

Image:Cervical vertebra english.png, Cervical vertebra Image:Gray301.png, Median sagittal section of two lumbar vertebræ and their ligaments.

See also

* Pars interarticularis * Zygapophyseal joint


External links

Articular processes
- BlueLink Anatomy - University of Michigan Medical School * - "Lumbar Vertebral Column, Posterolateral View" * - "Superior and lateral views of typical vertebrae." * Waynesburg College, Photo of model at Waynesburg College
' * Waynesburg College, Photo of model at Waynesburg College
' Bones of the thorax {{musculoskeletal-stub