Objective: Although there are several explanations for a duplicated middle cerebral artery (DMCA), its embryological origin is still an open question. We reviewed these anomalous vessels to postulate a theory of their different origins, sizes, and courses.
Methods: A retrospective review of 1,250 cerebral angiographies, 1,452 computed tomography (CT)-angiographies, and 2,527 magnetic resonance (MR)-angiographies was performed to identify patients with DMCA.
Results: Twenty-five patients had 25 DMCAs. Conventional angiography detected nine patients with DMCA (9/1250, 0.72%), MR-angiography detected seven patients with DMCA (7/2527, 0.28%), and CT-angiography detected nine patients with DMCA (9/1452, 0.62%). The DMCAs originated near the internal carotid artery terminal in eight patients (type A), and between the origin of the anterior choroidal artery and the terminal internal carotid artery in 17 patients (type B). The diameters of the eight type A DMCAs were the same or slightly smaller than those of the other branch of the DMCA. All type A DMCAs showed a course parallel to that of the other branch of the DMCA. The diameters of the 17 type B DMCAs were the same, slightly smaller, or very much smaller than that of the other branch of the DMCA. Nine type B DMCAs showed parallel courses, and the other eight curved toward the temporal lobe.
Conclusion: The two branches of the type A DMCAs can be regarded as early bifurcations of the MCA. The branches of the type B DMCAs had parallel courses or a course that curved toward the temporal lobe. The type B DMCA can be regarded as direct bifurcations of the MCA trunk or the early ramification of the temporal branch of the MCA.
Keywords: Clinical implications; Duplication; Middle cerebral artery.