The vertebral artery (VA) acts as a foundation for the posterior circulation of the head and neck. It presents a number of anomalies that can be easily visualized thanks to modern imaging techniques, such as MR and CT angiography or color Doppler ulrasonography. Determining the appropriate terminology for those anomalies can be sometimes more challenging than their recognition. One particular challenge concerns the differentiation betweenVA fenestration and duplication. Because of the different clinical prognoses associated with those anomalies, confusion should be avoided. Knowledge of the morphological anomalies associated with the VA is important for both radiologists and head and neck surgeons, because any injury to the VA can result in a threat to the vascular supply of the brain stem, the cerebral or cerebellar hemispheres, the thalamus, cervical nerve roots and particularly the lateral medulla (Wallenberg's syndrome). This article analyses world literature concerning the issue of VA fenestration and duplication to facilitate a differential diagnosis. Clin. Anat., 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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