Microsurgical anatomy and clinical significance of the anterior communicating artery and its perforating branches

Neurosurgery. 1997 Jun;40(6):1211-6; discussion 1216-8. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199706000-00019.


Objective: Precise identification of the anomalous anterior communicating artery (ACoA) or the perforating branches of the ACoA is usually difficult on preoperative angiograms because of the vascular complexity around the ACoA and its small-caliber branches. The purpose of this study was to review the microsurgical anatomy of the ACoA and its branches to show their importance for the interhemispheric trans-lamina terminalis approach and ACoA aneurysmal surgery.

Methods: In 30 cadaver brains, the ACoA and its branches were examined under magnification using a surgical microscope.

Results: The ACoA was evident in all specimens and had variations consisting of plexiform (33%), dimple (33%), fenestration (21%), duplication (18%), string (18%), fusion (12%), median artery of the corpus callosum (6%), and azygous anterior cerebral artery (3%). The perforating branches were also observed in all cadaver brains. They were classified into subcallosal, hypothalamic, and chiasmatic branches according to their vascular territories. The subcallosal branch, usually single and the largest, supplied the bilateral subcallosal areas, branching off to the hypothalamic area. The hypothalamic branches, multiple and of small caliber, terminated in the hypothalamic area.

Conclusion: The incidence of anomalous ACoA was higher than has been previously reported, and any segment of the anomalous ACoA may have perforating branches regardless of diameter. Among the three branches, the subcallosal branch is the most important because it feeds bilateral subcallosal areas branching to the hypothalamic area.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology*
  • Craniopharyngioma / blood supply
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / pathology*
  • Male
  • Microsurgery*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*