Posterior spinal arteries

Last revised by Dr Bahman Rasuli on 20 Sep 2022

 

The posterior spinal arteries are a pair of arteries that supply the respective ipsilateral grey and white posterior columns of the spinal cord.

Gross anatomy

The posterior spinal arteries arise from either the posterior inferior cerebellar or vertebral arteries (V3 or V4 segments) and run the entire posterolateral aspect of the spinal cord. Its origin may be intra-dural or extra-dural 1,2.

It descends along the posterolateral surface of the spinal cord. Along its course, it is reinforced by other branches that enter the spinal 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 like the anterior spinal artery, supplied by somewhat predictable feeders:   

The posterior spinal artery often anastomoses with the contralateral posterior spinal artery and may receive anastomoses with the anterior spinal artery via a pial plexus that encases the cord.

See spinal cord blood supply.

Related pathology

 

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: spinal cord arterial supply
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  • Figure 2: cord supply of the PSA
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  • Figure 3: brainstem arterial territories
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