Cerebrovascular geometry in the anterior circulation: an analysis of diameter, length and the vessel taper

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A study was undertaken to determine the typical length, diameter and taper of vessels in the anterior cerebral circulation.


The sample size was calculated at 100 patients based on similar measurements in the literature and divided into cohorts based on gender and side. These patients were consecutively collected from a population that had undergone CT angiography and did not have any vascular abnormality. The arterial diameter was measured at the proximal cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA), the ICA terminus, the middle cerebral artery (MCA) origin and an M2 origin. The length between these endpoints was calculated along the center line. The vessel taper was calculated for the ICA as the change in caliber per unit length.


The mean length of the ICA from the proximal cavernous segment to the ICA terminus was 33.1±6.1 mm. The mean diameter at the cavernous ICA and the ICA terminus was 5±0.6 mm and 3.6±0.4 mm, respectively. The mean ICA taper was 0.04±0.02 mm/1 mm. For the MCA, the diameter at the MCA and M2 origins measured 3.1±0.4 mm and 2.4±0.4 mm, respectively. The mean MCA length was 22.5±8.1 mm. There was no significant difference based on gender or between right and left sides. Patients aged >60 years had longer ICAs (p=0.02), larger cavernous ICA (p=0.003), ICA terminus (p<0.0001) and MCA origin (p=0.01) diameters than those aged 40–60 years. The ICA vessel taper did not change with age.


ICA and MCA vessel size did not change based on gender or side. Older patients had more redundant vessels based on diameter and length. The ICA has a gentle taper from its proximal cavernous segment to the ICA terminus. This information can be important in planning interventions or designing endovascular devices.

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