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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Head, Neck, and Thorax: Basilar Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Head, Neck, and Thorax

Basilar Artery

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The basilar artery may exist as two longitudinal trunks that may be united by anastomoses. Occasionally, the basilar splits into two vessels that reunite. When the two vessels fuse, the resulting single vessel may have a median sagittal partition. In some subjects, the basilar passes through a foramen in the dorsum sellae. An aberrant branch may arise that pierces the dorsum sellae and joins the internal carotid. In one case of a rudimentary vertebral artery that stopped short of the skull, the basilar arose as a branch of the internal carotid in the neck and entered the cranial cavity through the hypoglossal canal. The vertebral artery on the contralateral side ended as a posterior inferior cerebellar artery.

In a study of the causes of variations in form and position of the vertebral and basilar arteries, von Eichhorn suggested that atypical artery position and arterial loops were more common in subjects of advanced age. The present authors know that carotid artery loops may be caused by pathology and this may also be true in von Eichhorn's study as well. Additional study is required to settle this matter.

Image 417

Variation in Circle of Willis in Chinese

Absence of:

Image 228


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von Eichhorn, M. (1990) Ursachen für die Entstehung von Variationen im Verlauf der Arteria vertebralis und der Arteria basilaris. Gegenbaurs morphol. Jahrb., Leipzig 136(1): 127-134.

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Uchino, A., Sawada, A., Takase, Y. and S. Kudo. (2003) Variations of the superior cerebellar artery. MR angiographic demonstration. Radiat. Med. 21(6):235-238.

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