The artery of Percheron: An anatomic study with potential neurosurgical and neuroendovascular importance

Christoph J. Griessenauer, Marios Loukas, R. Shane Tubbs, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background. One variant branch of the P1 segment of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) is the artery of Percheron (AOP). This unilateral trunk supplies thalami and potentially mesencephalic structures. As studies of this vessel are scant in the literature and damage to this artery can have catastrophic results, the authors performed this study to better elucidate its morphology. Materials and methods. Twenty-five adult latex-injected cadaveric heads underwent brain removal and microdissection with specific attention to the presence of the AOP. When identified, measurements were made and observations given to the origin and course of this vessel. A case illustration is also presented that demonstrates bilateral thalamic and midbrain infarctions most likely due to thrombosis of the AOP. Results. An AOP was identified in three specimens (12%) - 2 right and 1 left side (1 male and 2 female specimens) and arose, on average, 8 mm lateral to the basilar artery bifurcation. The average diameter was 2.1 mm, and the length between the origin and brain penetration had a mean distance of 1.5 cm. In all specimens, the AOP had a coiled appearance, especially in its proximal extraparenchymal segment. The contralateral P1 segment of the PCA was not absent or hypoplastic in any of the three specimens. All arteries supplied small branches to the ipsilateral and contralateral thalami and midbrain. Conclusions. Knowledge of the AOP may be important during surgical or neuroendovascular approaches to the basilar bifurcation or during interpretation of imaging, especially in patients presenting with bilateral thalamic and midbrain infarctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-85
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Anatomy
  • Artery of Percheron
  • Midbrain
  • Posterior cerebral artery
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery

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