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

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

Posterior Communicating Artery

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

This artery may be absent or replaced by a branch from the middle cerebral.

In one review of nine studies of 2362 brains, the posterior communicating artery was absent unilaterally in 3.09% and bilaterally in 0.3%.

The posterior communicating artery is sometimes joined with the middle cerebral artery instead of the trunk of the internal carotid.

The posterior cerebral artery frequently arises by an enlarged posterior communicating artery from the internal carotid artery, and is connected only by a slender vessel with the basilar (on the right side in 5.5%, on the left side only in 4.5%, and on both sides in 2% of cases studied.

The opposite condition where the middle cerebral is derived from the posterior communicating artery has been reported by Hyrtl.

The posterior communicating artery is sometimes absent, or the branch representing it fails to join the posterior cerebral (on the right side only in 4.5%, on the left side only in 6.5% and on both sides in 1.5%).

The anterior choroidal artery is occasionally derived from the middle cerebral or posterior communicating: it may also be represented by two or three smaller branches.

Lang found accessory hypophyseal arteries arising from the posterior communicating artery, which ran to the tuber cinereurn and contributed to the supply of the infundibulum. There were also anastomoses with the superior hypophyseal artery.


Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A.K. and F.A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation: Catalog, Atlas and World Literature., Urban & Schwarzenberg, Baltimore and Munich.

Hyrtl, J. (1887) Lehrbuch der Anatomie des Menschen, 19th ed., Wilhelm Braumüller, Wien.

Schaefer, E.A., Symington, J. and T.H. Bryce., Eds., Quain's Anatomy, 11th ed., Longmans, Green and Co., London.

Waddington, M.M. (1974) Atlas of Cerebral Angiography with Anatomic Correlation. Little, Brown and Co. Boston.

Windle, B.C.A. (1888) The arteries forming the circle of Willis. J. Anat. Physiol. 22:289-293.

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