Ventral and dorsal persistent primitive ophthalmic arteries

Lydia Gregg, Diego San Millán, Emanuele Orru, Rafael J. Tamargo, Philippe Gailloud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Before the development of the adult ophthalmic artery (OA), the primitive maxillary artery (MA), the primitive dorsal OA, and the primitive ventral OA contribute to the vascularization of early ocular structures, whereas the primitive olfactory artery (OlfA) forms in the vicinity of the optic vesicle. These vessels are involved in several OA origin variants. OBJECTIVE: To clarify the developmental history of the OA, emphasizing in particular the criteria used to define persistent primitive OAs. METHODS: Eight rare variants relevant to the discussion of aberrant OA origins are presented. RESULTS: Five abnormal anatomic configurations are described including (1) OAs branching from the cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA) involving a persistent primitive MA, (2) OAs originating from the distal supraclinoid ICA involving persistent primitive ventral or dorsal OAs, (3) an OA originating from the anterior cerebral artery (ACA) involving a persistent primitive OlfA, (4) a persistent primitive OlfA, and (5) infraoptic ACAs involving the persistent primitive MA, OlfA, and OA. CONCLUSION: Discrepancies regarding the identification of persistent primitive OAs appear to result from a misinterpretation of the literature. Notably, an OA arising from the cavernous segment of the ICA derives from a primitive MA, whereas an OA arising from the ACA represents the partial persistence of a primitive OlfA; neither corresponds to a persistent primitive OA. Two new observations of this latter variant, which is exceptional, are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Anomalous ophthalmic artery
  • Cavernous ophthalmic artery
  • Dorcas Padget
  • Dorsal ophthalmic artery
  • Infraoptic anterior cerebral artery
  • Olfactory artery
  • Ventral ophthalmic artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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