Microanatomical study of the recurrent artery of Heubner

Ann Anat. 2013 Jul;195(4):342-350. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2013.03.011. Epub 2013 May 1.


The purpose of this study has been to describe the microanatomy of the recurrent artery of Heubner (RAH) in detail, to deepen anatomical knowledge and aid neurosurgeons in their work. The material was obtained from cadavers (ages 31-75 years) at routine autopsy. A total of 70 human brains (39 male and 31 female) were examined. People who died due to neurological disorders were not included in the study. Right after dissection, the arteries were perfused with acrylic paint emulsion, through the Circle of Willis or electively through the RAH. Brains were fixed in a 10% solution of formaldehyde, sectioned and placed in methyl salicylate for tissue transparency. To obtain corrosion-casts, the vessels were perfused with polyvinyl chloride or Mercox CL-2R resin and corroded using concentrated potassium chloride. The obtained material was analyzed using a stereoscopic light microscope. The RAH was present in 138 hemispheres with a mean of 1.99 RAH per hemisphere (275 RAH in total). The mean RAH length was 25.2 mm and the mean RAH diameter, in its place of origin, was 1 mm. Two to 30 branches (mean=9.4) originated from the stem of the RAH. The number of RAHs showed a negative correlation to the number of arteries from the medial group of lenticulo-striate arteries (LSA) (R=-0.62; p < 0.0001) which branch off the middle cerebral artery (MCA). This study further supports the RAH embryologic theory by Abbie. The RAH, in its extra- and intracerebral course, may join with the middle group of the LSA or directly with the MCA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anterior Cerebral Artery / anatomy & histology*
  • Anterior Cerebral Artery / embryology
  • Anterior Cerebral Artery / ultrastructure*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / anatomy & histology
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / embryology
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / ultrastructure
  • Tissue Preservation