The thoracic vertebrae are situated between the cervical spinal region directly above, and the lumbar directly below. The thoracic region features 12 individual vertebrae, and they are arranged in descending order. As such, the eleventh thoracic vertebra (T11) is located at the bottom, right above the twelfth. The T11 vertebra is larger than its counterparts above it. Generally, spinal bones are larger the farther down they are located. After all, a vertebra must able to not only support the vertebrae above it, but also the weight of the skull and brain. Like all of its spinal counterparts, the eleventh thoracic vertebra (T11) protects the spinal nerve by encasing it in bone. The T11 vertebra articulates into the rib bones, but they are not designated as true ribs, since they do not connect to the chest's sternum. Also, unlike other thoracic vertebrae, T11 features a spinous process that is relatively short, and it tends to be horizontal, featuring only a very slight curve. The eleventh thoracic spinal nerve extends from beneath the vertebra.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: T11