Perforating branches of the middle cerebral artery. Microsurgical anatomy of their extracerebral segments

J Neurosurg. 1985 Aug;63(2):266-71. doi: 10.3171/jns.1985.63.2.0266.


Perforating branches of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) were examined under magnification in 50 formalin-fixed brain hemispheres. Perforating vessels varied in number from three to 18, with an average of nine. The greater the number of vessels, the smaller was their diameter. In this study, the perforating arteries were divided into medial, middle, and lateral groupings. Those in the medial group usually arose directly from the MCA main trunk close to the carotid bifurcation. There were usually three vessels in the middle group, which originated not only from the MCA trunk, but also from the MCA collateral (cortical) branches. Common stems, when present, gave rise to individual perforating vessels and occasionally to thin olfactory and insular rami. Perforating arteries in the lateral group varied from one to nine in number. In addition to an origin from the MCA trunk, they also arose from cortical branches supplying the frontal and temporal lobes. The fact that lateral perforating vessels often originated from division sites and from terminal branches of the MCA is of clinical significance, because aneurysms are more commonly located at the MCA bifurcation. Anastomoses were not found among the perforating arteries. In two specimens, a fusion between a perforating artery and the MCA trunk was noted. Since the perforating vessels are obviously end arteries, injury to them must be avoided during operations for MCA aneurysms.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Arteries / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Microsurgery / methods