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The rib head surface in contact with a correspoinding thoracic vertebra has 2 articular facets which together contribute to the joint of the head:
- separated from each other by bony rim termed the crest; crest joins to the apposed intervertebral disc
- lower facet:
- more vertical than upper
- articulates with demifacet on superolateral border of corresponding thoracic vertebral body
- forms a synovial joint
- upper facet:
- articulates with demifacet on inferolateral border of thoracic vertebral body directly above its own corresponding vertebra
- synovial joint
- superior and inferior synovial joints of facets are attached to their margin and separated by a ligament arising from the crest of the head
Each joint is supported by an anterior radiate ligament complex.
The joints of the head of the ribs belong to the group of costovertebral joints.
Last reviewed 01/2018