cerebellomedullary cistern

Cistern (neuroanatomy)

In neuroanatomy, a cistern (Latin: "box") is any opening in the subarachnoid space of the brain created by a separation of the arachnoid and pia mater. These spaces are filled with cerebrospinal fluid. There are many cisterns in the brain with several especially large, notable ones each with their own name.

Some major subarachnoid cisterns:

  • Cerebellomedullary cistern (Cisterna magna) - the largest of the subarachnoid cisterns.
  • Pontine cistern (Prepontine cistern or cisterna pontis)
  • Interpeduncular cistern (Cisterna interpeduncularis)
  • Superior cistern (Quadrigeminal cistern or cistern of the great cerebral vein)
  • Ambient cistern (Cisterna ambiens) - thin, sheet-like extensions of the superior cistern that extend laterally about the midbrain, connecting it to the interpeduncular cistern. Ambient cistern may also refer to the combination of these extensions and the superior cistern.


  • Nolte, J (2002) The Human Brain, 5th edition. ISBN 0-323-01320-1, 87

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