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The petrosal artery and its variations: a comprehensive review and anatomical study with application to skull base surgery and neurointerventional procedures. Folia Morphol (Warsz) 2022 Jun 13



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BACKGROUND: The petrosal artery supplies several structures at the skull base and is often the focus of various neurointerventional procedures. Therefore, knowledge of its anatomy and variations is important to surgeons and interventionalists.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty latex injected cadaveric heads (40 sides) underwent microsurgical dissection of the petrosal artery. Documentation of the course of the artery and its branches were made. Measurements of the petrosal artery's length and diameter were performed using microcalipers.

RESULTS: A petrosal artery was identified on all sides. The mean length and diameter of the artery within the middle cranial fossa was 2.4 cm and 0.38 mm, respectively. Branches included the following: dural, ganglionic, V3 branches, branches extending through the foramen ovale, branches directly to the greater petrosal and lesser petrosal nerves, branches to the floor of the hiatus of the greater and lesser petrosal nerves, branch to the arcuate eminence, and superior tympanic artery. No statistically significant differences were noted between male and female specimens, but right-sided petrosal arteries were in general, larger in diameter than left sides.

CONCLUSIONS: A thorough anatomical knowledge of the petrosal artery and to its relationship to the facial nerve and other neurovascular structures is necessary to facilitate effective endovascular treatment and to preclude facial nerve complications.

Author List

Yu A, Dupont G, Nerva J, Anadkat SN, D'Antoni AV, Wang A, Iwanaga J, Dumont AS, Tubbs RS


John D. Nerva MD Assistant Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin