|Review on the Anatomy of the Middle Cerebral Artery; Cortical Branches, Branching Pattern and Anomalies|
|Karen Cilliers1, Benedict John Page1|
|1Stellenbosch University, Anatomy and Histology, Cape Town,
The middle cerebral artery (MCA) covers a large part of the cerebral hemispheres and is therefore exposed during surgical intervention in this area. Aspects of cerebral branches tend to vary, different branching patterns can be described, and several anomalies can be observed. Knowledge of these variations and anomalies is important and can be helpful to neurosurgeons and clinicians. The aim of this study was to review the available literature on the cortical branches, branching pattern and anomalies of the MCA, to identify the gaps in the literature, and to fill these gaps by including the results of a pilot study. Twenty hemispheres were perfused with colored silicone and the MCA was dissected. For the cortical branches, the diameter, length, presence, duplication and origins were noted. Most commonly duplicated was the anterior parietal artery in 30.0%, and most commonly absent was the common temporal artery in 65.0%. A detailed description on the origins is given. Criteria were described for the bifurcation subtypes and medial bifurcation (50.0%) was most commonly observed. No anomalies were observed. Aspects previously neglected of the MCA cortical branches were reported in the pilot study. The branching subtypes were identified and criteria are given. Illustrations of the different branching subtypes and anomalies are provided. Certain aspects of the MCA anatomy have been neglected, and future studies should give adequate descriptions of the MCA cortical branches, MCA branching pattern, and any anomalies observed.
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