Sulcal artery

Last revised by Dr Francis Deng on 28 Dec 2019

Sulcal arteries are penetrating branches from the anterior spinal artery and extend posteriorly through the anterior median fissure of the spinal cord. The sulcal arteries supply the anterior two-thirds of the spinal cord at any cross-sectional level.

Successive sulcal arteries generally alternate in their distribution to the left or right side of the spinal cord but not both 1,2. As a result occlusion of a single sulcal artery will result in a short segment of spinal cord infarction confined to the anterior part of the cord on only one side. This is known as sulcal artery syndrome and represents an incomplete Brown-Séquard syndrome.

See spinal cord blood supply.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: sulcal artery distribution
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