Endoscopic anatomy of the fourth ventricle: Laboratory investigation

Pierluigi Longatti, Alessandro Fiorindi, Alberto Feletti, Domenico D'Avella, Andrea Martinuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Object. Microsurgical anatomy of the fourth ventricle has been comprehensively addressed by masterly reports providing classic descriptions of this complex region. Neuroendoscopy could offer a new, somewhat different perspective of the "inside" view of the fourth ventricle. The purpose of this study was to examine from the anatomical point of view the access to the fourth ventricle achieved by the endoscopic transaqueductal approach, to enumerate and describe the anatomically identifiable landmarks, and to compare them with those described during microsurgery. Methods. The video recordings of 52 of 75 endoscopic explorations of the fourth ventricle performed at the authors' institution for different pathological conditions were reviewed and evaluated to identify and describe every anatomical landmark. According to the microsurgical anatomy, at least 23 superficial structures are clearly identifiable in the fourth ventricle, and they represent the comparative basis of parallel endoscopic anatomy of the structures found during the fourth ventricle navigation. Results. The following anatomical structures were identified in all cases: median sulcus, superior and inferior vela medullare, choroid plexus, inferior fovea, hypoglossal and vagal triangles, area postrema, obex, canalis medullaris, lateral recess, and the foramina of Luschka and Magendie. The median eminence, facial colliculus, striae medullaris, auditory tubercle, and inferior fovea were seen in the majority of cases. The locus caevruleus could never be seen. Conclusions. On the whole, 20 anatomical structures could consistently be identified by exploring the fourth ventricle with a fiberscope. Neuroendoscopy offers a quite different outlook on the anatomy of the fourth ventricle, and compared with the microsurgical descriptions it seems to provide a superior and detailed visualization, particularly of the structures located in the inferior triangle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-535
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • Anatomy
  • Aqueduct
  • Fourth ventricle
  • Neuroendoscopy
  • Neuronavigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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