Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 159, Issue 4, pp 665–676 | Cite as

Prechiasmatic sulcus and optic strut: an anatomic study in dry skulls

  • Vasiliki Kanellopoulou
  • Evgenia Efthymiou
  • Vasiliki Thanopoulou
  • Dimitra Kozompoli
  • Dimitrios Mytilinaios
  • Maria Piagkou
  • Elizabeth O. Johnson
Original Article - Neurosurgical Anatomy



Although safe surgical access to the cavernous sinus is related to understanding the anatomical and ethnic variants of the prechiasmatic sulcus and the optic strut, there remains a paucity of studies of the morphology and the bony relationships in the region. The present study provides a systematic morphological and morphometric analysis of the sulcal region and the optic strut anatomy and their relations in a Greek population.


The interoptic distance, length of planum sphenoidale, sulcal length and sulcal angle was determined in 96 Greek adult dry skulls. The prechiasmatic sulci and optic struts were morphologically classified and association of sulcal region measures according to type of prechiasmatic sulcus and optic strut were examined.


Mean interoptic distance was 1.69 ± 0.25 cm; sulcal length, 0.72 ± 0.18 cm; length of planum sphenoidale, 1.86 ± 0.32 cm; sulcal angle, 24.05 ± 17.17°. The sulcal angle was significantly smaller in female skulls compared to males (14.82 ± 12.43 vs 28.29 ± 15.24; p < 0.05). Type I (narrow, steep) prechiasmatic sulci were the most commonly observed (35.8%), followed by Type IV (wide, flat) (32.1%), Type II (narrow, flat) (18.5%) and, finally, Type III (wide, steep) sulci (13.6%). The optic strut was presulcal in 8.3% of specimens, sulcal in 31%, postsulcal in 41.7% and asymmetric in 19%.


The present study augments the current knowledge of the morphology of key anatomical landmarks, prechiasmatic sulcus and the optic strut, for cavernous sinus surgery and indicates population and gender differences. We report significant anatomical variations in the prechiasmatic sulcus, optic strut and surrounding structures. In addition to providing a better understanding of the anatomical landmarks, necessary for the safe navigation in transcranial and endoscopic procedures, the present results also suggest that surgeons must consider population differences in determining the anatomical landmarks and navigation points in the sellar region.


Prechiasmatic sulcus Optic strut Planum sphenoidale Sella turcica Morphometry 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasiliki Kanellopoulou
    • 1
  • Evgenia Efthymiou
    • 1
  • Vasiliki Thanopoulou
    • 1
  • Dimitra Kozompoli
    • 1
  • Dimitrios Mytilinaios
    • 2
  • Maria Piagkou
    • 1
  • Elizabeth O. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Laboratory for Education & Research in Neuroscience (LERNs), School of MedicineNational & Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Forensic Pathologist, 251 General Air Forces Hospital, Scientific Collaborator, Laboratory of Forensic Pathology, School of MedicineNational & Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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