Skip Navigation

Vertebral Artery

Last Updated: Jun 11, 2015

The vertebral artery is one of the main arteries at the base of the neck and is the first branch of the subclavian artery. It later unites to create the basilar artery in a complex named the vertebrobasilar system. This system provides important areas of the brain with blood.

A plexus of nerve fibers surrounds the vertebral artery and the first part arises from the subclavian artery to the sixthmycontentbreak cervical vertebra’s transverse process. It goes to the upper six cervical vertebrae’s transverse processes to the skull by going up into the foramina. It enters the skull by way of the foramen magnum, in front of the ligamentum denticulatum’s uppermost tooth. Then above it turns between the hypoglossal nerve and below, the first cervical nerve, and continues to the medulla oblongata’s anterior surface. It forms the basilar artery by uniting with the other side at the lower border of the pons. Here it becomes intracranial.

The vertebral artery has two sets of branches: cervical and cranial. The neck is where the cervical branches are given off and the cranium is where the cranial branches are given off. The muscular and lateral spinal arteries are the cervical branches. The lateral spinal ones divide into two branches by way of the intervertebral foramina. These two branches supply the bodies of the vertebrae, the spinal cord, and its membranes. Before the vertebral artery hits the posterior ligament of the occipito-atloid the muscular branches are given off. These branches service the neck’s deep muscles. The occipital and the ascending and deep cervical arteries merge with these branches.