The Petroclinoid Ligament: Its Morphometrics, Relationships, Variations, and Suggestion for New Terminology.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

J Neurol Surg B Skull Base


washington; seattle; swedish neuro


The anatomy and definition of the petroclinoid ligament (PCL) and its relationship with the abducens nerve are variably described. The goal of this study was to clarify the anatomy of the PCL and better elucidate its relationship with the abducens nerve. Thirty-six sides from 18 fresh-frozen adult cadaveric heads were used in this study. Specimens were all Caucasian and derived from 10 males and 8 females. The mean age at death was 79 years. Dissection of the PCL and abducens nerve was performed using a surgical microscope. The anterior and posterior attachments of the PCL, and position of the abducens nerve were noted. Subsequently, the width, thickness, and length of the ligament, and diameter of the abducens nerve were measured. Thirty-one sides (86.1%) were found to have a PCL, on two sides (5.6%), the PCL was ossified, and on three sides (8.3%), the PCL was absent. The width, thickness, and length of the PCL ranged from 0.54 to 3.39, 0.07 to 0.49, and 3.27 to 17.85 mm, respectively. No PCL had an anterior attachment onto the posterior clinoid process but rather, the clivus. Therefore, based on our findings, the PCL would be better described as the petroclival ligament.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)