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Definition of C2 (cervical vertebra)

C2 (cervical vertebra): C2 is the symbol for the second cervical vertebra, which is also called the axis. It is so-named because the uppermost cervical vertebra (called the atlas) rotates about the odontoid process of the second cervical vertebra. The joint between the axis and atlas is a pivot type of joint. It allows the head turn.

The Latin word "axis" means axle or pole. The axis bone serves as the axle about which the atlas (and the head) turn.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8763
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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