Anterior spinal artery

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The anterior spinal artery supplies the anterior portion of the spinal cord and arises from the vertebral artery in the region of the medulla oblongata. The two vertebral arteries (one of which is usually bigger than the other) anastamose in the midline to form a single anterior spinal artery at the level of the foramen magnum.

It descends along the anterior surface of the spinal cord. Along its course, it is reinforced by other branches that enter the vertebral canal via the intervertebral foraminae. Although communication exists at multiple levels, the supply of the cord can be thought of as occurring in three relatively separate sections, supplied by somewhat predictable feeders 4.   

The anterior spinal artery communicates sporadically with the posterior spinal arteries via a pial plexus that encases the cord. At most levels it gives of a sulcal artery which enters the anterior median fissure. 

Related pathology

Spinal anatomy
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Article information

rID: 5879
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • ASA

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Cases and figures

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    Fig 1: basilar artery and circle of Willis
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    Fig 2: arterial supply to the brain
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    Figure 3: spinal cord arterial supply
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