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Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2019 Jun 1;16(6):734-742. doi: 10.1093/ons/opy308.

Proximal Branches of the Anterior Cerebral Artery: Anatomic Study and Applications to Endoscopic Endonasal Surgery.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.



The endoscopic endonasal approach is a surgical alternative for midline anterior skull base tumors. A detailed understanding of the proximal anterior cerebral artery (ACA) branches' anatomy from an endonasal perspective is essential for avoiding vascular complications.


To evaluate, from an endonasal perspective, the anatomic variations of the ACA and its proximal branches, specifically the recurrent artery of Heubner (RAH), and the fronto-orbital (FOA) and frontopolar (FPA) arteries.


We study the origin, course, branching pattern, diameter, and relationship between the proximal ACA branches and the optic apparatus and olfactory tract in 25 head specimens.


The RAH was present in all hemispheres and originated within 3 ± 1.5 mm of the AcomA, with a 0.4 ± 0.1 mm diameter. Based on its relationship with the A1 segment, we observed three RAH courses: anterior (40%), superior (22%), and posterior (38%). The FOA was present in all cases, a mean of 6 ± 4 mm from the AcomA, with a 0.7 ± 0.4 mm diameter. The FOA arose mainly from the A2 (70%), with three courses in relation to the olfactory tract: crossing its proximal third (54%), crossing its middle third (31%), and running parallel to it along the gyrus rectus (15%). The FPA was present in 92% of the hemispheres, a mean of 10 ± 5 mm from the AcomA, always arising from the A2 and coursing anteriorly within the interhemispheric fissure towards the frontal pole.


The RAH, FOA, and FPA can be differentiated by origin, course, and destination using the A1 segment, olfactory tract, and interhemispheric fissure, respectively, as surgical landmarks.


Anterior cerebral artery; Anterior communicating artery; Endoscopic endonasal surgery; Fronto-orbital artery; Frontopolar artery; Recurrent artery of Heubner; Suprasellar suprachiasmatic region


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