Send to

Choose Destination
Childs Nerv Syst. 2011 Dec;27(12):2057-66. doi: 10.1007/s00381-011-1574-y. Epub 2011 Sep 11.

The Virchow-Robin spaces: delineation by magnetic resonance imaging with considerations on anatomofunctional implications.

Author information

Department of Neurological Surgery, Juntendo University Urayasu Hospital, 2-1-1 Tomioka, Urayasu, Chiba 279-0021, Japan.



The Virchow-Robin spaces (V-R spaces) are well-known, but not systematically understood fluid-filled perivascular spaces that allow the convexity and basal perforating vessels to penetrate deep into the cerebral parenchyma.


This study aims to delineate anatomical characteristics of the normal V-R spaces by MR imaging with considerations on clinical and anatomofunctional implications of the V-R spaces.


In this prospective study with 3T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, the whole extent of the intracranial V-R spaces was classified into basal, cortical, subcortical, paraventricular, and brainstem segments, on the basis of the topological difference in 105 control subjects. Morphological characteristics in each segment of the V-R spaces are described. For comparison with the neuroimaging appearance, V-R spaces were histologically examined in cadaveric human brains. The physiological functions of the V-R spaces and pathognomonic implications of unusually dilated, but asymptomatic, V-R spaces encountered in five subjects are discussed.


The V-R spaces were found to form a complicated, while anatomically highly consistent, intraparenchymal canal network distributed over the whole cerebral hemispheres and connect the cerebral convexity, basal cistern, and ventricular system.


The V-R spaces may be essential for drainage routes of cerebral metabolites, additional buoyancy for the brain, and maintenance of homogenous intracranial pressure. MR imaging may be more advantageous in depicting the V-R spaces than histological examination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center