Spinal facets

The joints in the spine are called facet joints.

Other names for these joints are zygapophyseal or apophyseal joints..

Each vertebra has two sets of facet joints.

One pair faces superiorly and one downwardly: superior and inferior articular facets.

There is one joint on each side.

Facet joints are hinge–like and link vertebrae together.

They are located at the posterior spine.

Facet joints are synovial joints, surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue and produce fluid to nourish and lubricate the joint.

The joint surfaces are coated with cartilage allowing joints to move smoothly against each other.

Spinal facet joints are diarthroidal joints that provide both sliding articulation and load transmission features.

Help to support axial, torsion and shear loads acting on the spinal column, and maintain segmental stability of the spinal cord.

Abnormal facet joints may result in back/neck pain, and segmental instability within the spine.

Spinal fusion commonly used to treat spinal trauma or degenerative diseases, decreases the function by limiting the range of movement for patients for flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral bending.

Spinal fusion may accelerate degeneration of adjacent non-fused vertebral segments.

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