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The thoracic section of the backbone stretches between the lumbar and cervical regions. If looking at the slope of a back, the thoracic would be situated between the neck and the small arch of the back.

The thoracic vertebrae collectively slope inwards, creating a valley between the lumbar and the cervical regions. The eighth thoracic vertebra (T8) can be found towards the middle of this valley. As with other spinal vertebrae, the T8 primarily protects and encases the spinal cord. Anatomically, the T8 is also at the same level as the xiphoid process, which is a small projection located in the lower part of the sternum, or breastbone. At birth, the xiphoid process is made of cartilage, although it ossifies into bone by adulthood. The eighth thoracic spinal nerve runs beneath the T8.

Like other vertebrae, the T8 consists of a main body and a number of processes that muscular tissue attaches to. The spinal process is perhaps the most prominent, jutting out like a wing. Other processes include the inferior articular process, the superior articular process, and the transverse process.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: T8

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