AskDefine | Define basilar

Dictionary Definition

basilar adj : of or relating to or located at the base; "the basilar membrane of the cochlea" [syn: basilary]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of, pertaining to, or located at a base, but especially at the base of the skull

Extensive Definition

In human anatomy, the basilar artery is one of the arteries that supplies the brain with oxygen-rich blood.
The two vertebral arteries and the basilar artery are sometimes together called the vertebrobasilar system, which supplies blood to the posterior part of circle of Willis and anastomoses with blood supplied to the anterior part of the circle of Willis from the carotid arteries.


It arises from the confluence of the two vertebral arteries at the junction between the medulla oblongata and the pons.
It ascends in the central gutter (sulcus basilaris) inferior to the pons and divides into the posterior cerebral arteries and the superior cerebellar artery just inferior to the pituitary stalk.
From the basilar artery arises the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (supplying the superior and inferior aspects of the cerebellum), as well as smaller branches for the supply of the pons (the pontine branches).


Thrombosis of the basilar artery can be life-threatening, as it leads to hypoxia and ischemia of the brainstem.
Poor prognoses are common and these can include paralysis of all extremities, heavy disturbances in sensation, difficulty in swallowing and difficulty in respiration.
Basilar artery thrombosis is the most common cause of locked-in syndrome.

Additional images

hypophysis cerebri, in position. Shown in sagittal section. Image:Cerebral angiography, arteria vertebralis sinister injection.JPG|Cerebral angiogram showing the transverse projection of the vertebro-basilar and posterior cerebral circulation. Image:Human brainstem blood supply description.JPG|Human brainstem blood supply


External links

basilar in German: Arteria basilaris
basilar in French: Artère basilaire
basilar in Italian: Arteria basilare
basilar in Latin: Arteria basilaris
basilar in Low German: Arteria basilaris
basilar in Polish: Tętnica podstawna
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