Anatomic basis for surgical approach to the distal segment of the posterior cerebral artery

Surg Radiol Anat. 1988;10(4):259-66. doi: 10.1007/BF02107896.


The distal segment of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA), which extends from the junction with the posterior communicating artery to its terminal division into the parieto-occipital and calcarine arteries, was examined in 37 brains. Three types of distal segment were distinguished. In the first type (42.9%), the terminal division was located either in the calcarine sulcus or in the quadrigeminal cistern. In the second type (41.4%), the terminal division had the same position, but the distal segment, in addition to its terminal stems, also gave off the common temporal artery. In the third type (15.7%), the terminal division was seen in the ambient cistern. The distal segment of the PCA gave rise to several collateral branches: the collicular artery (2.8%), the anterior (28.6%), middle (30.0%), and posterior (28.6%) hippocampal arteries, the proximal (82.9%) and distal (20.0%) lateral posterior choroidal arteries, the proximal (40.0%) and distal (41.4%) medial posterior choroidal arteries, the peduncular, thalamogeniculate and splenial branches, the lingual gyri artery and the temporal arteries. Several anatomic variants of the distal segment were observed in this study: fenestration of the distal segment (1.4%), location of the distal segment dorsal to the uncus (2.8%), origin of the collicular (2.8%) and anterior choroidal arteries (1.4%) from the distal segment, and protrusion of the parieto-occipital arterial loop into the lateral ventricle (2.8%). The authors discuss the clinical significance of these anatomic data.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basilar Artery / anatomy & histology
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Arteries / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / blood supply
  • Corpus Callosum / blood supply
  • Geniculate Bodies / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Occipital Lobe / blood supply
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply
  • Temporal Arteries / anatomy & histology