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Spine Embryology

Vertebral Growth

Vertebral formation at 3-5 weeks with segmentation occurring at 6-8 weeks

Each vertebrae forms from 2 adjacent sclerotomes and so becomes an inter segment structure
Notochord degenerates but between vertebrae it persists to form the nucleus pulposus
During the 6th week chondrification occurs
Two centres in each centrum fuse at the end of the embryonic period resulting in one centre evident in the centrum after this period (defects here -> hemi vertebrae)
2 Centres in the neural arches fuse with each other and the centrum
The two 1/2's of the neural arch usually fuse in the first year and these to the centrum in ~ the 3rd to 6th year
At about puberty five secondary centres appear (upper and lower body, and one in the tip of the TPs and spinous process)

Ossification begins in the embryonic period and ends at about 25 years.
Longitudinal growth is via superior and inferior apophysis.

Horizontal growth is by periosteal apposition

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