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Blood supply to the spinal column and spinal cord


The arterial blood that supplies the cervical and thoracic vertebrae is transported through the branches of the subclavian artery. The blood supply to the lumbar spine, the sacrum, and the coccyx is transported by branches of the abdominal and internal iliac arteries.
Venous drainage from the cervical and thoracic spine occurs after the venous blood has collected in the internal and external venous plexus, then flows through the azygos vein, hemiazygos vein and accessory hemiazygos vein into the superior vena cava.
Venous blood from the lumbar spine, sacrum and coccyx flows through the internal and external venous plexus into the lumbar veins and from there into the inferior vena cava.

Arterial blood supply to the spinal column, presented in simplified form

The spinal cord is supplied mainly by the anterior (1) and posterior (2) spinal arteries (arteria spinalis anterior and posterior) as well as by the arteria spinalis mediolateralis (3).
In the neck region, the spinal arteries branch off of the vertebral artery (arteria vertebralis), which in turn branches off of the subclavian artery (arteria subclavia). Blood flows into the spinal arteries in the thoracic region from the intercostal arteries (arteriae intercostales) and in the lumbar region from the lumbar arteries (arteriae lumbales).

Blood supply to the spinal cord