While the supernumerary ribs of the lumbar vertebræ possess an academic interest only, the accessory rib of the cervical portion of the spinal column commands practical importance. Literature does not contain a single case in which the lumbar rib has caused any discomfort whatsoever. In contrast hereto the observations concerning more or less great disturbances, due to cervical rib, are multiplying with each year. The Roentgen ray has enabled us to obtain more accurate anatomic knowledge of this region and has also given us a means to determine the accuracy of surgical procedures. We have learned to use the Roentgen picture as a reliable guide in outlining the plan of operation.
Naturally it was the anatomists who gave us the etiology at a period when we did not as yet value the clinical importance of the cervical rib. As the pioneer in this direction we may consider Hunauld.1