Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Lumbar Puncture Headache Anatomy

Brain Anatomy
The brain is well protected by:

  • The scalp
  • The skull
  • The dura
    • A tough 3-layer sheath that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
    • Layers include the dura mater (strongest layer), arachnoid mater (middle layer), and pia mater (closest to the brain)

The brain is a complicated structure containing many parts. These include:
  • The cerebrum:
    • Made up of two cerebral hemispheres that are connected in the middle
    • It is the largest part of the brain
    • Each area of the cerebrum performs an important function, such as language or movement
    • Higher thought (cognition) comes from the frontal cortex (front portion of the cerebrum)
    • Outside of the cerebrum are blood vessels
    • There are fluid-filled cavities and channels inside the brain
  • The cerebellum:
    • Located in the lower, back part of the skull
    • Controls movement and coordination
  • The brainstem and pituitary gland:
    • Responsible for involuntary functions such as breathing, body temperature, and blood pressure regulation
    • Pituitary gland is the "master gland" that controls other endocrine glands in the body, such as the thyroid and adrenal glands
  • The cranial nerves:
    • Twelve large nerves exit the bottom of the brain to supply function to the senses such as hearing, vision, and taste
  • The cerebral blood vessels:
    • A complicated system that supplies oxygenated blood and nutrients to the brain

The blood supply to the brain is divided into two main parts:
  • Anterior cerebral circulation:
    • The front of the brain is supplied by the paired carotid arteries in the neck.
  • Posterior cerebral circulation:
    • The back portion of the brain is supplied by the paired vertebral arteries in the spine.

Anatomy examples:
  • Carotid artery branches shown on arteriogram
  • Cerebral arteries viewed in cross-section through middle of brain
  • Cerebral arteries viewed from bottom of brain
  • Cerebral arteries on enhanced CT scan
  • Cerebral arteries on arteriogram

Last Updated: Jan 5, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Lumbar Puncture Headache References
  1. Despond O, Meuret P, Hemmings G. Postdural puncture headache after spinal anaesthesia in young orthopaedic outpatients using 27-g needles. Can J Anaesth. 1998 Nov;45(11):1106-9. [10021962]
  2. Halpern S, Preston R. Postdural puncture headache and spinal needle design. Metaanalyses. Anesthesiology. 1994 Dec;81(6):1376-83. [7992906]
  3. Lybecker H, Moller JT, May O, Nielsen HK. Incidence and prediction of postdural puncture headache. A prospective study of 1021 spinal anesthesias. Anesth Analg. 1990 Apr;70(4):389-94. [2316881]
  4. Vallejo MC, Mandell GL, Sabo DP, Ramanathan S. Postdural puncture headache: a randomized comparison of five spinal needles in obstetric patients. Anesth Analg. 2000 Oct;91(4):916-20. [11004048]
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