The outermost layer of the meninges, the dura mater, is closely associated with the arachnoid which in turn is loosely connected to the innermost layer of the meninges, the pia mater. The meninges divide the spinal canal into the epidural space and the subarachnoid space. The pia mater is closely attached to the spinal cord. A subdural space is generally only present due to trauma and/or pathological situations. The subarachnoid space is filled with cerebrospinal fluid and contains the vessels that supply the spinal cord, namely the anterior spinal artery and the paired posterior spinal arteries, accompanied by a corresponding spinal veins. The spinal arteries form anastomoses known as the vasocorona of the spinal cord. The epidural space contains loose fatty tissue, and a network of large, thin-walled blood vessels called the anterior vertebral venous plexus and the posterior vertebral venous plexus
The spinal canal was first described by Jean Fernel.