Study of the variations of superior cerebellar artery in human cadavers

Padmavathi G


Background: Superior Cerebellar Artery (SCA) arises just caudal to the bifurcation of basilar artery. The artery may be exposed in various neurosurgical procedures pertaining to the basilar apex, cerebellopontine angle, clivus etc. With the recent advances in neuroradiology and microvascular surgeries, the knowledge of the anatomical variations becomes very important for the neurosurgeons to perform the operations safely and successfully. Aim of current study was to study the morphometry and anatomical variations of the proximal segment of SCA (i.e. from its origin to its first bifurcation).

Methods:150 SCAs were studied by gross dissection of 75 formalin embalmed brains obtained from the department of anatomy Mysore medical college and MVJ medical college over a period of 5 years.  

Results:Variations like duplication in the origin was seen in 23.3%, triplication in 2% of SCAs, and abnormal origin from Posterior Cerebellar Artery (PCA) in 25.3% were noted. Other variations like tortuous course & fenestration of SCA were found. The distance from the origin of SCA to PCA ranged between 0.7-4.5 mm. The length from SCA origin to its bifurcation ranged from 6-23 mm. Outer diameter of SCA trunk at its origin varied from 1.2-2.8 mm. The outer diameter of the Basilar Artery (BA) at the basilar apex ranged between 3.2-6 mm.

Conclusion:The presence of variations can alter the plan of surgical and radiological procedures. The knowledge of such variations and anomalies along with potential clinical manifestations is of paramount importance primarily for neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists.



Morphometry, Neurosurgery, Superior cerebellar artery, Variations

Full Text:



Pai BS, Varma RG, Kulkarni RN, Nirmala S, Manjunath LC, Rakshith S. Microsurgical anatomy of posterior circulation. Neurol India. 2007;55(1):31-41.

Mennan Ece Aydin, Ahmet Hilmi Kaya, Cem Kopuz, Mehmet Tevfik Demir, Ufuk Corumlu, Adnan Dagcinar. Bilateral origin of superior cerebellar arteries from posterior cerebral arteries and clues to its embryological basis. Anat Cell Biol. 2011;44(2):164-7.

Ausman JI, Diaz FG, de los Reyes RA et al. Superficial temporal to proximal superior cerebellar artery anastomosis for basilar artery stenosis. Neurosurg. 1981;9:56-60.

Hardy DG, Rhoton Jr AL. Microsurgical relationships of the superior cerebellar artery and the trigeminal nerve. J Neurosurg. 1978;49:669-78.

Hoffman HB, Margolis MT, Newton TH. The superior cerebellar artery. Section I: normal gross and radiographic anatomy. In: Newton TH, Potts DG, eds. Radiology of the Skull and Brain: Angiography. 2nd ed. St. Louis: C.V. Mosby; 1974: 1809-1830.

Zheng XI et al. Management of intra neural vessels during microvascular decompression surgery for trigeminal neuralgia. World Neurosurg. 2012;77(5-6):771-4.

Richard L. Mani MD, Thomas H, Newton MD. The superior cerebellar artery: arteriographic changes in the diagnosis of posterior fossa lesions. Radiol. 1969;92:1281-7.

Emel A, Damirez F, Mehmei A, Ayhan A, Nihat E. Surgical anatomy of the superior cerebellar artery. Turkish Neurosurg. 2001;11:95-100.

Marinkovic S, Kovacevic M, Gibo H, Milisavljevic M, Bumba sirevic L. The anatomical basis for the cerebellar infarcts. Surg Neurol. 1995;44:450-60.

Veysel Akgun et al. Normal anatomical features and variations of the vertebrobasilar circulation and its branches: an analysis with 64-detector row CT and 3T MR angiographies. Sci World J. 2013;Article ID 620162:1-7.

Rhoton AL Jr. The cerebellar arteries. Neurosurg. 2000;47(3):29-68.

Yasargil MG. Intracranial arteries. In: Yasargil MG eds. 1st ed. Microneurosurgery. New York: Thieme Medical Publishers; 1987: 54-164.

Shrontz C, Dujovny M, Ausman JI et al. Surgical anatomy of the arteries of the posterior fossa. J Neurosurg. 1986;65(4):540-4.

Kalani MY, Hu YC, Spetzler RF. A double-barrel superficial temporal artery-to-superior cerebellar artery (STA-SCA) and STA-to-posterior cerebral artery (STA-PCA) bypass for revascularisation of the basilar apex. J Clin Neurosci. 2013;20(6):887-9.

Dagcinar, Adnan, Kaya, Ahmet Hilmi, Aydin, Mennan Ece, Kopuz, Cem, Senel, Alparslan, et al. The superior cerebellar artery: anatomic study with review. Neurosurg Quart. 2007;17(3):235-40.