Basilar artery

The basilar artery is one of the arteries that supplies the brain with oxygen-rich blood.

Basilar artery
The basilar artery lies at the front of the brainstem in the midline and is formed from the union of the two vertebral arteries.
The basilar artery terminates by splitting into the left and right posterior cerebral arteries.
SourceVertebral arteries
BranchesPontine arteries, 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 union of the two vertebral arteries at the junction between the medulla oblongata and the pons between the abducens nerves (CN VI).[1]

It ascends superiorly in the basilar sulcus of the ventral pons and divides at the junction of the midbrain and pons into the posterior cerebral arteries.

Its branches from caudal to rostral include:

Clinical relevance

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

Additional images


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