Anatomy of the cisterns

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  1. Posterior fossa cisterns
    1. Cisterna magna – a.k.a. cerebellomedullary cistern; posterior to medulla and clivus; location of PICA
    2. Prepontine cistern – CN 5 and 6, basilar artery, AICA
    3. medullary cistern – anterior to medulla; vertebral arteries; anterior and posterior spinal arteries, PICA, CN 12
    4. Cerebellopontine cistern – CN 5, 7 and 8, AICA
    5. superior cerebellar cistern – between tentorium and vermis, connects with quadrigeminal cistern anterosuperiorly; superior cerebellar artery, superior vermian veins
  2. suprasellar (basal) cisterns
    1. Interpeduncular cistern – CN 3, basilar artery, SCA, PCA, Pcomm, basal vein of Rosenthal
      1. Lilliquist’s membrane is an arachnoidal sheet that extends from the dorsum sellae to the anterior edge of the mamillary bodies; separates the interpeduncular and chiasmatic cisterns; forms a competent barrier in 10-30% of the population
    2. Chiasmatic cistern – located below the optic chiasm; ICA, ACA, MCA, Pcomm, anterior choroidal artery
  3. Mesencephalic cisterns
    1. Ambient cistern – sheet like subarachnoid extensions around the midbrain, continuous with quadrigeminal cistern; CN 4 and 6, PCA, SCA
    2. Quadrigeminal cistern – a.k.a. cistern of great cerebral vein; connects ambient and superior cerebellar cisterns; pineal, vein of Galen, PCA
    3. velum interpositum – above third ventricle; below corpus callosum and fornix, anterior continuation of quadrigeminal cistern; internal cerebral veins, branches of anterior and posterior choroidal arteries
  4. Cistern of the lamina terminalis: ACA and frontopolar artery
  5. Callosal cistern – above corpus callosum, between and below cingulated gyri
  6. Crural cistern – located between cerebral peduncle and uncus; PCA and anterior choroidal artery
  7. Suprasellar cistern
  8. Carotid cistern
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