Posterior cerebral artery

The posterior cerebral arteries (PCA) are the terminal branches of the basilar artery and supply the occipital lobes and posteromedial temporal lobes.


Gross anatomy

The PCA is divided into four segments:

  • P1: from it origin at the termination of the basilar artery to posterior communicating artery (PCOM), within interpeduncular cistern.
  • P2: from the PCOM around the mid-brain, divided into P2A (anterior) and P2P (posterior) sub-segments.  P2A is within crural cistern which then bridges to the P2P segement in ambient cistern (thus ambient segment)
  • P3: quadrigeminal segment (segment with the quadrigeminal cistern)
  • P4: cortical segment (e.g. calcarine artery, within the calcarine fissure)

Variant anatomy

  • PCA fenestration: rare
  • fetal origin of PCA: unilateral incidence 10%, bilateral incidence 8%

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Article Information

rID: 4857
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Posterior cerebral artery (PCA)
  • PCA
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    Figure 1: PCA territoroy in blue
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    Figure 2: PCA territory in blue
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    Figure 3: Cerebral vascular territories
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