Micro-anatomical study of the carotid cave

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 1997;139(9):869-74. doi: 10.1007/BF01411405.


The surgical treatment of aneurysms located in the carotid cave is often hazardous and difficult. We studied the micro-anatomy of the carotid cave and its neighbourhood by microscopic observation and histological examination using 50 sides from 25 autopsy cases. The carotid caves were found in 34 out of the 50 sides (68%) examined and were usually located in the posteromedial aspect of the carotid dural ring. They were classified into three types according to the topographic micro-anatomy: the slit-type (17/50, 34%) which showed a small, thin recess of the dura mater with fine connective tissue loosely adhered to the carotid wall; the pocket-type (12/50, 24%) which had a definite dural pouch with the apex attached to the vessel wall; and the mesh-type (5/50, 10%) which formed a slit- or pocket-type dural cave covered with a mesh-like dural roof. The remaining 16 sides (32%) showed tight dural attachment without any caval structure around the dural ring. The posteromedial portion of the carotid dural ring had no contact with any bony structure, and this distinct anatomical feature thus appear to facilitate the formation of the carotid cave. Furthermore, the availability of this potential space and the closely situated origin of the superior hypophyseal artery as well as the haemodynamic effect of the internal carotid artery may allow the development of the carotid cave aneurysm.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / surgery
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged