The thoracic spinal vertebrae consist of 12 total vertebrae and are located between the cervical vertebrae (which begin at the base of the skull) and the lumbar spinal vertebrae. The eleventh thoracic vertebra (T11) is located near the bottom of the thoracic spine. Generally, the spinal bones are larger and heavier the further down they are located. This helps each vertebra to support the weight of the vertebrae above it, as well as the weight of the skull and brain.
Like all of its spinal counterparts, T11 protects the spinal cord 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 slight curvature. The eleventh thoracic spinal nerve extends from beneath the vertebra.