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September 11, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(11):877-878. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780370043017

Descriptions of supernumerary cervical rib may be found in the writings of Galen and Vesalius. In 1860 Willshire described symptoms produced by the pressure of the cervical rib on the brachial plexus and the subclavian artery. Because the vertebral column in the embryo grows faster than the spinal cord, the nerves and plexuses issuing from the latter must assume an oblique course in order to reach the extremities. They thus interfere with the growth of the ribs. Consequently the ribs in the new-born come to be represented in the cervical region by the transverse processes of the vertebral bodies. The supernumerary cervical rib may therefore be regarded as a developmental anomaly. It springs as a rule from the seventh cervical vertebra but may occasionally arise from the sixth or the fifth. The rib may extend just beyond the transverse process of the vertebra or even touch the first rib; it

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