Central sulcus

The central sulcus (of Rolando) is a very important landmark in both anatomical and functional neuroanatomy.

The central sulcus separates the frontal lobe from the parietal lobe, and more specifically separates the primary motor cortex anteriorly from the primary somatosensory cortex posteriorly 1.

A number of landmarks and signs have been identified as being variably useful in identifying the central sulcus on cross-sectional imaging 1,3:

Although various individuals and publications expound the virtues of one or more of these signs, not all signs are present in any given patient and in practice, one should use as many of them as possible to understand the local anatomy. In the vast majority of cases, unless there are serious congenital sulcation anomalies, prior damage (e.g. surgery) or distorting masses (e.g. tumors), the central sulcus can be identified with certainty by evaluating the region for the above features. In cases where anatomy is uncertain, or it is of critical importance to confirm the anatomy, then functional MRI can be performed, particularly aimed at identifying the hand motor cortex. 

The Rolandic sulcus (as it once was) was named after the Italian anatomist, Luigi Rolando (1773-1831) 4.

Anatomy: Brain
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Article information

rID: 33617
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Central fissure
  • The central sulcus
  • Central (Rolandic) sulcus
  • Fissure of Rolando
  • Rolandic sulcus

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2
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  • Figure 3: MR anatomy
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  • Figure 4: neuroanatomy: medial cortex (diagrams)
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  • Figure 3: neuroanatomy: superior cortex (diagrams)
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