Object: This study was undertaken to analyze the features that define subclinoid aneurysms.
Methods: Five cases of laterally directed carotid artery (CA) aneurysms adjacent to the anterior clinoid process (ACP) were identified in a series of approximately 1400 surgically treated aneurysms. These cases were selected because the aneurysms had the same features as the only previously described "subclinoid" aneurysm. The angiographic and anatomical features of the five cases were analyzed.
Conclusions: Subclinoid aneurysms are a unique group of congenital berry aneurysms. They originate from the lateral surface of the CA adjacent to the ACP. They are partially or completely hidden from view at surgery by the ACP and are partially or completely proximal to the distal dural ring of the CA. The proximal neck of these lesions is located at the same level of the CA cut perpendicular to its axis of blood flow as the origin of the ophthalmic artery (OphA), but they do not originate at that or any other branch of the CA. They can only be definitively differentiated from OphA, anterior paraclinoid, and blister-like aneurysms at surgery.