Internal Carotid Artery Classification Systems: An Illustrative Review

World Neurosurg. (2022) 163:41-49

The internal carotid artery (ICA) course has been discussed extensively. Several classification systems have attempted to delineate an accurate and helpful trajectory for microsurgical and endoscopic guidance, thus allowing a better neurosurgical performance while avoiding intraoperative complications. Also, the practicality of the classification systems has been emphasized for scholarly communication among disciplines. Nevertheless, the nomenclature of the ICA remains heterogeneous and confusing for health care professionals, trainees, and students.

We present an illustrative review of 8 notable ICA classification systems using lateral and anterior views as a rapid tool for neuroanatomic consultation. The appraisal of the vessel anatomy from different perspectives while recognizing their usefulness and limitations might provide a comprehensive understanding of the ICA, optimize the intraoperative performance, and facilitate communication