Open main menu

In human anatomy, the basilar artery is one of the arteries that supplies the brain with oxygen-rich blood.

Basilar artery
Blausen 0114 BrainstemAnatomy.png
The basilar artery lies at the front of the brainstem in the midline and is formed from the union of the two vertebral arteries.
Circle of Willis en.svg
The basilar artery terminates by splitting into the left and right posterior cerebral arteries.
SourceVertebral arteries
BranchesPontine perforating branches, anterior inferior cerebellar (AICA) and superior cerebellar arteries, and terminal posterior cerebral arteries.
SuppliesPons, and superior and inferior aspects of the cerebellum.
LatinArteria basilaris
Anatomical terminology

The two vertebral arteries and the basilar artery are sometimes together called the vertebrobasilar system, which supplies blood to the posterior part of the circle of Willis and joins with blood supplied to the anterior part of the circle of Willis from the internal carotid arteries.



The basilar artery arises from the confluence of the two vertebral arteries at the junction between the medulla oblongata and the pons between the VIth cranial nerves.[1]

It ascends superiorly in the basilar sulcus ventral to the pons and divides at the ponto-mesencephalic junction into the paired posterior cerebral arteries close to the pituitary stalk.

Its branches can be divided into two groups:[1]

  • Paramedian perforating arteries arising either directly from the dorsal surface or from short circumferential arteries running around and into the pons supplying the corticospinal tracts and vital deep nuclei.
  • Two or three paired long circumferential branches:

Clinical relevanceEdit

A basilar artery stroke classically leads to locked-in syndrome.

Additional imagesEdit


  1. ^ a b Byrne, James (2012). "Chapter 2. Cranial arterial anatomy". Tutorials in endovascular neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology. Berlin: Springer. pp. 37–38.

External linksEdit