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Anatomical variations and anomalies of the middle cerebral artery

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: Intracranial arteries have a high rate of variation, but a clear schematic overview is lacking. In this pictorial review we classify and depict all the variations and anomalies within the middle cerebral artery (MCA). - METHODS: PubMed was searched with the MeSH-term "Middle Cerebral Artery. " Articles were selected based on their description of variants within the MCA. Crossreferencing was used to broaden the range of articles. The anatomical variants were then schematically drawn using the anteroposterior and lateral view during angiography of the internal carotid artery. - RESULTS: A total of 29 unique medical illustrations were made, depicting variation in number of vessels; variation in vessel origin; and variation in morphology. - CONCLUSIONS: The MCA provides vital blood supply to the frontal, parietal, temporal, and central brain structures. An overview of these variations is important to diagnose and treat patients with MCA -related pathology correctly and safely. They can aid in distinguishing pathology from normal anatomical variance; aid neurosurgeons during aneurysmal clipping or arteriovenous malformation resections; and aid interventional radiologists during thrombectomy or coiling. This article provides a summary regarding current knowledge of anatomical variations within the MCA, their prevalence and clinical relevance. A total of 29 unique illustrations were made, depicting currently known variants. We encourage all who diagnose, treat, and study the MCA to use this overview for a uniform and better understanding of its anatomy.
Journal: World neurosurgery
ISSN: 1878-8750
Volume: 183
Pages: E187 - E200
Publication year:2024
Keywords:A1 Journal article