Name of bone

Lumbar vertebrae


The lumbar vertebrae are the largest segments of the movable part of the vertebral column, and are characterized by the absence of the forarmen transversarium within the transverse process, and by the absence of facets on the sides of the head. They are designated L1 to L5, starting at the top.

Muscle and ligament attachments

Enter important muscle and ligament attachments

Surface anatomy

  • The first lumbar vertebra is level with the anterior end of the ninth rib. This level is also called the important transpyloric plane, since the pylorus of the stomach is at this level.
  • The fifth lumbar vertebra is characterized by its body being much deeper in front than behind, which accords with the prominence of the sacrovertebral articulation; by the smaller size of its spinous process; by the wide interval between the inferior articular processes; and by the thickness of its transverse processes, which spring from the body as well as from the pedicles.
  • The fifth lumbar vertebra is by far the most common site of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis


Enter radiographic images and landmarks

Physical examination

Enter relevant physical exam maneuvers for this bone


Enter embryology for this bone


Some individuals have four lumbar vertebrae, while others have six. Lumbar disorders that normally affect L5 will affect L4 or L6 in these individuals.


Enter links to pages for injuries or disorders where this bone is involved.


Figure 1. Vertebral column

Figure 2. Lumbar vertebra


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