The tenth thoracic vertebra (T10) is one of twelve vertebrae that make up the central section of the vertebral column. The spine consists of three vertebral columns, including the cervical vertebrae, lumbar vertebrae, and thoracic vertebrae. The cervical vertebrae are located in the neck. The lowest portion of the spine consists of the lumbar vertebrae. Between the cervical vertebrae and the lumbar vertebrae are the thoracic vertebrae.
The T10 has a complete articular facet and the thoracic spinal nerves passes through underneath it. It (in conjunction with the other vertebrae) surrounds the spinal cord and protects it from damage. T10 innervates the muscles of the lower abdomen.
It is part of the section of the spinal cord that is most vulnerable to injury due to the area's high level of flexibility. A person who sustains an injury in this area will most likely experience limited or complete loss of use of the muscles in the lower abdomen, buttocks, legs, and feet. The extent of the disability is determined by the amount of damage done to the T10 vertebra. If there is only mild and partial damage, the patient may only experience weakness, numbness, lack of muscle control, or loss of the use of only one side of their lower body. Complete damage to this vertebra (in a worst-case scenario) could result in the patient losing use of their lower body (paraplegia).