The membrane of Liliequist—a safe haven in the middle of the brain.

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2235–2244

The membrane of Liliequist is one of the best-known inner arachnoid membranes and an essential intraoperative landmark when approaching the interpeduncular cistern but also an obstacle in the growth of lesions in the sellar and parasellar regions. The limits and exact anatomical description of this membrane are still unclear, as it blends into surrounding structures and joins other arachnoid membranes.

Methods We performed a systematic narrative review by searching for articles describing the anatomy and the relationship of the membrane of Liliequist with surrounding structures in MEDLINE, Embase and Google Scholar. Included articles were crosschecked for missing references. Both preclinical and clinical studies were included, if they detailed the clinical relevance of the membrane of Liliequist.

Results Despite a common definition of the localisation of the membrane of Liliequist, important differences exist with respect to its anatomical borders. The membrane appears to be continuous with the pontomesencephalic and pontomedullary membranes, leading to an arachnoid membrane complex around the brainstem. Furthermore, Liliequist’s membrane most likely continues along the oculomotor nerve sheath in the cavernous sinus, blending into and giving rise to the carotid-oculomotor membrane.

Conclusion Further standardized anatomical studies are needed to clarify the relation of the membrane of Liliequist with surrounding structures but also the anatomy of the arachnoid membranes in general. Our study supports this endeavour by identifying the knowledge hiatuses and reviewing the current knowledge base.