Microsurgical anatomy of the posterior circulation|
Pai BalajiS, Varma RaviG, Kulkarni RaghavendraN, Nirmala S, Manjunath LC, Rakshith S
Context: The microsurgical anatomy of the posterior circulation is very complex and variable. Surgical approaches to this area are considered risky due to the presence of the various important blood vessels and neural structures.
Aims: To document the microsurgical anatomy of the posterior circulation along with variations in the Indian population.
Materials and Methods: The authors studied 25 cadaveric brain specimens. Microsurgical dissection was carried out from the vertebral arteries to the basilar artery and its branches, the basilar artery bifurcation, posterior cerebral artery and its various branches. Measurements of the outer diameters of the vertebral artery, basilar artery and posterior cerebral artery and their lengths were taken.
Results: The mean diameter of the vertebral artery was 3.4 mm on the left and 2.9 mm on the right. The diameter of the basilar artery varied from 3-7 mm (mean of 4.3 mm). The length varied from 24-35 mm (mean of 24.9 mm). The basilar artery gave off paramedian and circumferential perforating arteries. The origin of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) varied from 0-21 mm (mean 10.0 mm) from the vertebrobasilar junction. The diameter of the AICA varied from being hypoplastic i.e., < 0.5 mm to 2 mm (mean 1.0 mm). The superior cerebellar artery (SCA) arises very close to the basilar bifurcation, in our series (1-3 mm from the basilar artery bifurcation). The diameter of the SCA varied from 0.5-2.5 mm on both sides. The posterior cerebral artery (PCA) is divided into four segments. The PCA gave rise to perforators (thalamoperforators, thalamogeniculate arteries, circumflex arteries and peduncular arteries), medial posterior choroidal artery, lateral posterior choroidal artery and cortical branches. In 39 specimens the P1 segment was found to be larger than the posterior communicating artery, in six specimens it was found to be equal to the diameter of the posterior communicating artery and in five specimens it was found to be smaller than the posterior communicating artery diameter (fetal circulation).
Conclusions: The authors have documented the various anomalies as well as the differences of the anatomy in this area in the Indian population as compared to the Western literature.
Basilar artery, microsurgical anatomy, posterior cerebral artery, posterior circulation, superior cerebellar artery