Posterior cerebral circulation

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 16 Oct 2019

The posterior cerebral circulation (or simply, posterior circulation) is the blood supply to the posterior portion of the brain, including the occipital lobes, cerebellum and brainstem.

Due to the anastomotic circle of Willis, the posterior circulation connects via the posterior communicating arteries to the anterior circulation.

The posterior circulation is supplied by the vertebral arteries that combine to form the basilar artery which then divides into the posterior cerebral arteries. From these main vessels, many smaller vessels supply the posterior structures of the brain, including:

Related pathology

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: circle of Willis
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  • Figure 2: vertebral artery
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  • Figure 3: posterior circulation
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