The intracranial arachnoid mater : a comprehensive review of its history, anatomy, imaging, and pathology

Introduction: The arachnoid mater is a delicate and avascular layer that lies in direct contact with the dura and is separated from the pia mater by the cerebrospinal fluid-filled subarachnoid space. The subarachnoid space is divided into cisterns named according to surrounding brain structures.

Methods: The medical literature on this meningeal layer was reviewed in regard to historical aspects, etymology, embryology, histology, and anatomy with special emphasis on the arachnoid cisterns. Cerebrospinal fluid dynamics are discussed along with a section devoted to arachnoid cysts.

Conclusion: Knowledge on the arachnoid mater and cerebrospinal fluid dynamics has evolved over time and is of great significance to the neurosurgeon in clinical practice.

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