Cisterna magna

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Cisterna magna
Diagram showing the positions of the three principal cisterns in the brain. The cerebellomedullary cistern or cisterna cerebellomedullaris is labelled at the lower right.
System Ventricular
Latin Cisterna magna,
cerebellomedullary cistern
MeSH A08.186.566.166.686.351
NeuroNames hier-533
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

The cisterna magna (or cerebellomedullaris cistern) is one of three principal openings in the subarachnoid space between the arachnoid and pia mater layers of the meninges surrounding the brain. The openings are collectively referred to as cisterns. The cisterna magna is located between the cerebellum and the dorsal surface of the medulla oblongata. Cerebrospinal fluid produced in the fourth ventricle drains into the cisterna magna via the lateral apertures and median aperture.

The two other principal cisterns are the pontine cistern located between the pons and the medulla, and the interpeduncular cistern located between the cerebral peduncles.

While the clinical method most commonly used for obtaining cerebrospinal fluid is a lumbar puncture,[1] puncture of the cisterna magna is also rarely performed.[2]


  1. ^ Boon, J.M.; Abrahams, P.H.; Meiring, J.H.; Welch, T. (2004). "Lumbar puncture: Anatomical review of a clinical skill". Clinical Anatomy. 17 (7): 544–53. doi:10.1002/ca.10250. PMID 15376294. 
  2. ^ Ward, E; Orrison, W. W.; Watridge, C. B. (1989). "Anatomic evaluation of cisternal puncture". Neurosurgery. 25 (3): 412–5. PMID 2771012.