Class materials provided by the University of Hawaii state that an uncinate process of the spine is a hook-shaped process on the surface of vertebral bodies. It projects from the sides of the top surface of each vertebra from the C3 to C7 and the first thoracic vertebra, T1.
The main purpose of the uncinate process is to aid in supporting the vertebra. The class materials provided by the University of Hawaii explain that the vertebral projections prevent each vertebra from sliding out from beneath the vertebra above it.
The uncinate process can be affected by a condition called uncinate hypertrophy, according to the class materials provided by the University of Hawaii. A person who suffers from this has larger than normal projections on the cervical vertebra. The condition can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of the nerves.