Cisterna magna

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The cisterna magna (also known as the cerebellomedullary cistern) is the largest of the CSF-filled subarachnoid cisterns.

The cisterna magna is located between the cerebellum and the dorsal surface of the medulla oblongata at and above the level of the foramen magnum. CSF produced in the ventricular system drains into the cisterna magna from the fourth ventricle via the median aperture (of Magendie) and the lateral apertures (of Luschka) 1-2.

Several vessels and nerves course through the lateral part of the cistern:

  • cisterna magna normally measures between 2-10 mm in the second and third trimesters 4
  • cisterna magna normally measures 3-8mm in the midsagittal plane when measured from the posterior margin of the foramen magnum to the caudal margin of the inferior vermis 3
Anatomy: Brain
Share article

Article information

rID: 5860
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cerebellomedullary cistern

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Figure 1: subarachnoid cistern
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Figure 2: cisterns and CSF flow
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.