Subarachnoid cisterns

The subarachnoid cisterns, or basal cisterns, are compartments within the subarachnoid space where the pia mater and arachnoid membrane are not in close approximation and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) forms pools or cisterns (Latin: "box"). As they are interconnected, their patency is essential for CSF circulation. Cisterns may have vessels and/or cranial nerves passing through them.

The named subarachnoid cisterns are (roughly from superior to inferior):

The cisterns are, in some instances, separated from each other by arachnoid membranes

Related pathology

Anatomy: Brain
Share article

Article information

rID: 5859
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Basal CSF cisterns

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: subarachnoid cisterns
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

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

     Thank you for updating your details.